A California city building inspector has been placed on leave after a nearly three-year-old surveillance video surfaced that shows him assaulting a female special education teacher and her male friend at a bar.
San Luis Obispo officials say they are conducting a confidential personnel investigation into the off-duty confrontation between city employee Christopher Olcott and teacher Camille Chavez and her friend Isaac McCormack, City Manager Derek Johnson said in a statement to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
“As the criminal proceedings in this matter have finally come to a conclusion and additional information has been made publicly available, the city will thoroughly and quickly investigate the record to determine appropriate employment actions,” Johnson said.
Olcott, who works for the city's Community Development Department, pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to misdemeanor battery with great bodily injury after a trial ended up in a hung jury last year.
He did not respond to the Tribune for comment.
The May 28, 2016, incident was caught on surveillance video at Mr. Rick’s bar in Avila Beach. Olcott was sentenced to 60 days in jail, three years of unsupervised probation and three months of alcohol counseling. He must also pay an undetermined amount in restitution.
Chavez, 30, told the paper that Olcott was being "territorial" when he bumped into her backside inside the crowded bar.
“I don’t know what triggered the event,” Chavez told the paper. “I have no idea what prompted it. He was territorial over this space. There was room in front of him, but he was not willing to give up that space.”
Olcott elbowed her in the face and knocked her out, at about the 50-second mark of the 1:05 video. She was unconscious for more than a minute and missed some time from work. He also repeatedly punched McCormack.
“We take these matters seriously,” Johnson said. “The safety and security of the community we serve and our employees is of utmost importance to us.”
Chavez said the attack still affects her nearly three years later.
“I had a concussion, and I have been diagnosed with PTSD,” Chavez said. “That has been the hardest thing. I’ve been dealing with being around crowds. I have a hard time going out in public and being around groups of people.”
Christine Dietrick, SLO’s city attorney, said the city must go through a process when investigating off-duty attacks involving its employees to determine the nexus between job performance and conduct off the clock.
She said city governments aren't made aware of arrests or charges brought against employees that do not work in public safety.
“We were only aware of the charges and not the details of the case; the first we saw of the video was when it was posted online,” Dietrick said.