There are accusations of San Francisco Sheriff’s Deputies conducting gladiatorial matches using coerced inmates. These are real fights with real injuries. Not only that, the boys in blue are betting on the outcomes. And no, this isn’t San Francisco, Putumayo, Columbia, this is San Francisco, California, USofA.
Once again, let me state that these are allegations at this point. Having reiterated that, let me bring you up-to-date on what we think we know.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi received an email on March 12th from an inmate’s father, informing him of the situation. The inmate, of Hawaiian and Filipino descent, claimed he was being bullied because of his race and was in fear of his life.
The public defender interviewed the inmate, Ricardo Garcia, who stated that the fights were set up by four deputies, led by Scott Neu. The deputies would gamble on the outcome. Garcia claimed he was already in two fights and was being made to engage in an upcoming one next week. The inmate is 5’9″ & 150 pounds, his opponent, Stanley Harris, is 6′ & 350 pounds.
“They took me down to the hallway and told me to fight another inmate, which was Stanley, and told me if I didn’t fight that I would basically get beat up by themselves, by Deputy Neu. And he told me he was going to Mace me and cuff me if I didn’t. And he told me anything goes. Just don’t punch the face, so no one can basically see the marks. But anything goes, other than the face.”
In the first fight, Deputy Neu appeared to have bet on Harris, however, he tapped out when caught in a headlock. Garcia said that after the fight,
“Deputy Neu told Stanley he would be coming on Saturday, the following day, to take him to work out and to basically train him. And he also told everyone that was there that there will be a round two and he does not like to lose money.”
Harris told Adachi, that Neu made him do 200 push-ups in an hour as part of his “training”. As he did the push-ups Neu threatened to anally rape him, telling him “he’ll take my cheeks”!
The public defender’s office hired a private investigator to take a look at the claims. The investigator interviewed other inmates who backed up the claims.
The public defender’s chief attorney. Matt Gonzales, stated,
“These acts cannot occur without the implicit acceptance of otherwise law-abiding deputies. It is impossible for just two or three or even four deputies to commandeer the jail and stage fights without other deputies being aware of it.”
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said he was extremely concerned about the situation when Adachi called him about it. He said that he was also concerned about a culture problem in the department. (All the inmate gladiators had various degrees of permanent tan. The four deputies are all white.) Sheriff Mirkarimi said the jail was “barbaric” and should have been shut down years ago.
“The allegations are egregious enough that I forwarded them on (to the special investigations division),”
He invited the US Department of Justice to help in the investigation. (Well, this IS San Francisco, not Ferguson.)
He also agreed that this couldn’t have happened with only the four deputies knowing about it. The four deputies (Evan Staehely, Eugene Jones, Clifford Chiba & Neu) have been re-assigned and two bailiffs who allegedly knew but didn’t report it, will be re-assigned as well.
The Sheriff’s Deputies Union’s attorney had a different take on the situation:
“A deputy may have encouraged one inmate to work out. The deputy may have also allowed two inmates to wrestle in order to settle a dispute about who was stronger. The ‘wrestling’ was essentially little more than horseplay. There was no betting. The inmates were never forced to work out. They were never forced to fight.”
One thing’s for sure, somebody is lying!
Btw, Deputy Neu was the subject of two sexual assault lawsuits in 2006 and 2008. One was with a female inmate. In the second, Neu was accused of forcing two transgender inmates to perform sexual acts on him. Both cases were
bought, I mean settled out of court. The lawyer for the female had this to say about Neu,
“It was sick, sick conduct,” Pointer said. “I am surprised he was even still in the position to be with inmates unsupervised.”
As usual, stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted as developments develop.