Deputy charged with hitting a 12-year-old in the face

AUSTIN, Texas --- Former Texas Sheriff's Deputy Jack Danford is in trouble with the law after police say he punched a 12-year-old girl with autism back on Mar. 3 in North Austin.

Danford worked for the sheriff's office since 2005, but no one thought the veteran officer was capable of this, but what happened next at Oakwood Barbecue shocked everyone.

Danford was off duty and stopped by the barbecue joint for a few beers. Court documents say he had been there drinking all day. Russell Cope was delivering wood to the restaurant around the same time and brought his puppy along with his girlfriend and her 12-year-old daughter. The little girl started playing with the dog on the patio and that's when things took a turn for the worst. "All the employees heard the screams,” said Cope.

Witnesses say a small dog was by Danford when the girl came over to pet the dog and that's when Danford got on top of her and started punching her in the face. Two people tried to pull him off, but that didn't work. That's when Cope says he jumped in. “I stepped back and I kicked him in the head with my boot and knocked him out,” said Cope.

The girl was taken to the hospital with a few injuries and is doing just fine. Cope says it's the emotional trauma that is sticking with her. “Every time we go out to eat somewhere else she won't go get food without somebody going with her. She won't go to the restroom without someone going with her,” said Cope.

Danford now faces third degree injury to a child charges along with public intoxication and resisting arrest.