Ricardo Palikako Garcia says a pair of sheriff’s deputies overseeing inmates in a San Francisco prison were dealing out justice without having to lay a finger on prisoners.
He says they convinced him to take part in a push up contest, but once he agreed the situation changed dramatically.
In a statement from his lawyer, Garcia said former deputy sheriff Scott Neu, who was fired last year, and deputy Eugene Jones, organised the fights then placed bets on the competitors.
“Um, I’ve been like basically witnessing and going through like, uh, deputies betting against
me and forcing me to fight, and if I don’t fight, then he’s basically telling me that he was
gonna beat me, up, cuff me, and tase me all at once,” Garcia said in a statement.
“Deputies are also betting against, you know, me and another inmate … I thought it was going to be like a push-up contest or some other sort. Then they took me down to the hallway and told me to fight another inmate … and told me if I didn’t, if I didn’t fight that, you know, I would basically get beat up.’’
Officials this week slapped 17 charges on Jones and Neu, including assault by an officer and criminal threats, over the fights that allegedly began on March 5 last year. Another officer, deputy Clifford Chiba faces three counts of cruel and unusual punishment of an inmate and failing to report fights.
It was reported on Tuesday that Neu was the alleged ringleader. He is being accused of threatening to mace, cuff, tase and beat the two inmates if they refused to fight.
Chiba is accused of giving Garcia and another inmate advice on how to perform better in a second fight.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said the three suspects showed “grossly inhumane treatment” toward the two inmates, one of whom he said suffered an injured rib.
Harry Stern, a lawyer representing Neu, has previously called the allegations “exaggerated” and the fighting “little more than horseplay.”
The fight club was uncovered after one of the inmates told his father about the organised brawls, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The father reported the fights to San Francisco Police and local and federal investigations were launched.
Public defender Jeff Adachi said in a press conference on Tuesday: “This is a very serious situation”.
If convicted, the accused could face five years behind bars.
Courtesy of News.com.au by Rohan Smith and Wires