Ex-Medina County Sheriff’s Office deputy found guilty of assaulting handcuffed man with pepper spray gun

Jonathan Bates Nunemaker sentenced to seven years probation

Jonathan Bates Nunemaker was found guilty on two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant for using a high-powered pepper spray gun at close range on Branden Sanchez, a handcuffed man, that left Sanchez seriously injured. Nunemaker was a Medina County Sheriff’s Office deputy when the incident occurred. (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

HONDO, Texas – A former Medina County Sheriff’s Office deputy was found guilty Thursday for using a high-powered pepper spray gun at close range on a handcuffed man that left him seriously injured.

Jurors took less than an hour to find Jonathan Bates Nunemaker guilty of two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.

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Trial testimony revealed that Nunemaker pulled over Branden Sanchez, 17, for a traffic stop for driving erratically in a stolen BMW on June 20, 2023.

Two officers with the Castroville Police Department, who helped Nunemaker at the scene, testified that the deputy got “increasingly angry” with Sanchez because he was kicking the doors and refusing to stay seated in the back seat of the deputy’s patrol vehicle.

At some point, Nunemaker opened the rear driver’s side door, yelling “Hey!” to Sanchez, at which point Sanchez turned his head, allowing Nunemaker to discharge his county-issued pepper spray gun into Sanchez’ left eye from approximately 3½ feet away, according to a news release from the Medina County District Attorney’s Office.

Sanchez suffered traumatic, permanent injuries to his eye, resulting in blindness that is unlikely to ever resolve, the news release said.

The jury sentenced Nunemaker to seven years probation. If Nunemaker violates the terms of his probation, he could be sentenced to seven years in prison. As a result of the conviction, Nunemaker is ineligible to maintain a peace officer’s license.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

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