A Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy has received a formal reprimand for his off-duty conduct at the Grandstand Casino in Billings on Jan. 15, but he will avoid a suspension and keep his job.
Sgt. Brandon Smart was also stripped of all special duties for one year without the ability to reapply and must receive additional ethics and conduct training, Sheriff Mike Linder said in a news release Thursday.
After an internal investigation, Linder said his office concluded that Smart, an 11-year veteran, had violated the agency's policy on ethics and conduct.
Smart was out at the Grandstand with other off-duty law enforcement officers in the early morning hours of Jan. 15 when he went outside with an off-duty Billings police officer, Matt Frank. A driver yelled and swore at them, so the two officers and another man approached the vehicle, and the driver drew a gun.
A struggle ensued, and Smart was seen on security camera lurching back, and police initially said he was struck by a bullet fragment. Footage appears to show he was struck by the butt of a gun, with no evidence of a gunshot.
The driver, Louis Delgado, fled the scene and crashed into a pole while pursued by law enforcement. He survived with serious injuries.
Frank received a two-week suspension without pay, while Smart was never pulled off duty.
Read Linder's full news release below:
On January 15, 2022, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Sergeant Brandon Smart was involved in a disturbance at the Grandstand Casino in Billings. Sergeant Smart was off duty at the time of the incident and was not in uniform or acting in his official capacity as a Deputy Sheriff.
Upon learning of the incident, I ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident. The investigation was conducted by a Lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Office Training and Professional Standards Division. Currently, an investigation to determine if any criminal activity occurred during the incident is being conducted by the Montana Department of Criminal Investigations.
Our internal investigation concluded that Sergeant Smart had violated Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office Policy on Ethics and Conduct.
Sheriff’s Office Policy 2-1 CODE OF ETHICS States:
I. Law Enforcement Code of Ethics:
Deputies will behave in a manner that does not bring discredit to their agencies or themselves. A deputy’s character and conduct while off duty must always be exemplary, thus maintaining a position of respect in the community in which he or she lives and serves. The deputy’s personal behavior must be beyond reproach.
Sheriff’s Office Policy 2-3 RULES OF CONDUCT States:
A. Deputies will not engage in any activity or commit any act that would tend to bring discredit or impair the efficiency or reputation of the Sheriff’s Office or its Deputies.
1. Actions of Deputies that are inconsistent, incompatible or in conflict with the standards established by the Sheriff’s Office negatively affect its reputation and that of its Deputies. Such actions (and inactions) will not be tolerated as they distract from the Sheriff’s Office overall ability to effectively and efficiently protect the public, maintain peace and order, and conduct other essential business.
Disciplinary Action Taken
Formal Letter of Reprimand
Removal from Special duties and prohibition from re-applying for special duties for 1- Year
Additional training on or pertaining to Ethics and Conduct.
Sergeant Smart has been a Deputy Sheriff in the Patrol Division and other assignments for the past 11 years. Before that he was a Sergeant at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.