Clean slate possible for Fresno County correctional officer who attacked inmate

Thomas Sire knew where gaps in coverage gave him a chance to attack inmates without being seen, according to an arrest warrant.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022
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A Fresno County correctional officer charged with assaulting an inmate may get to walk away from the case with his record clean again.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno County correctional officer charged with assaulting an inmate may get to walk away from the case with his record clean again.

A courtroom deal could even put the defendant back in a law enforcement uniform.

Cameras record activity in most of the Fresno County jail, but not everywhere.

Correctional officer Thomas Sire knew where gaps in coverage gave him a chance to attack inmates without being seen, according to an arrest warrant.

It reveals an internal investigation into two separate instances of alleged violence.

Sire resigned from the sheriff's office during the investigation and prosecutors charged him with felony assault by a custodial officer.

Now, a court deal could keep the charge off his record.

"If he completes the anger management, many other people have done that and their cases have been dismissed also," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi.

Judge Jon Kapetan reduced the felony to a misdemeanor and put Sire on a diversion program Friday.

If Sire finishes 12 weeks of anger management and doesn't commit a new crime for 12 months, he'll get the case dismissed.

That would keep him eligible for just about any job.

"Technically, he could still be hired by a law enforcement agency because he's not convicted," Capozzi said.

Sire is brother-in-law to incoming sheriff John Zanoni, but Capozzi says the deal doesn't smell of favoritism.

In fact, another correctional officer charged with the same crime got a similar deal from the same judge a month ago.

Puthypunnha Por gets his record cleared after six months and without taking anger management.

Sire's attorney tells Action News the incident happened while the jail was understaffed in the middle of the pandemic while jail conditions were difficult.

He says Sire has no intention of getting back into law enforcement.

Capozzi says the charges alone might keep police departments from hiring him.

"That's something that puts a new employer on notice," he said. "If he's hired by that employer and he commits something similar to what's in these charges, that employer is going to be liable for anything he does."

Both Por and Sire have follow-up court dates in 2023 to dismiss the misdemeanor cases against them.