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Safford officer accused of sexual assault did not turn body camera on, documents show

A police officer accused of sexually assaulting a suspect did not have his body camera on during the time the alleged assault happened, according to documents.
Credit: Simms family

SAFFORD, Ariz. — An officer accused of sexually assaulting a suspect apparently did not have his body-worn camera on during the time the assault is alleged to have occurred, newly released police documents show. 

Jordan Simms, 28, later died after apparently escaping handcuffs, leg shackles and a belt chain and jumping from a moving patrol car.

The case started with a shoplifting call. Documents from the Safford Police Department obtained by 12 News say Simms had been previously arrested for shoplifting. 

Safford police officer Jeremiah French responded, but no shoplifted items were found. Instead, French wrote he discovered Simms had a warrant for her arrest in Yavapai County. 

PREVIOUSLY: Inmate's death after allegedly jumping from patrol vehicle raises questions

After her arrest, the documents show Simms complained of stomach pain and was taken to the hospital. 

The documents show French made little mention of the hospital visit. His report mentions Simms met with hospital staff, refused medication and was released back into his custody.

But days later, Simms would tell an investigator a much different story. 

According to the police report, Simms said she was left alone with French in the hospital for up to 30 minutes. She said during that time, French sexually assaulted her. 

The sergeant who investigated Simms's claim said he talked to French and asked if French's body-worn camera was on. According to the sergeant's report, French said the camera was no on at the hospital, allegedly because the hospital had concerns over patient privacy. 

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The nurse at the hospital told the sergeant Simms was at the hospital for nearly two hours. 

Doctors did perform a sexual assault kit on Simms and the sergeant said it was entered into evidence. 

Simms died a few days later. 

The case was turned over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety for investigation. Neither DPS nor Safford Police would comment, citing the pending investigation. 

MORE: Family set to file $5 million notice of claim against Graham County after daughter died in custody

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