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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Beaten Inmate Sues Indicted Jailer

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Los Angeles County jailer charged with assaulting inmates and falsifying police reports faces a damages claim from one of his alleged victims.

Derek Griscavage aka Derek Archambeau, an inmate at North Kern State prison in Kern County, sued Los Angeles County, Sheriff Leroy Baca, Capt. Dan Cruz, and jailer Jermaine Jackson in Federal Court.

He claims Jackson and other deputies beat him senseless on Christmas in 2010, sending him to the hospital.

Jackson, 35, was charged on Dec. 13 with attacking Griscavage, and another inmate, nonparty Cesar Campana, in a separate incident at a Compton Court holding tank.

One of the assaults was caught on tape, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Los Angeles Times. Jackson has been put on leave without pay. He has not yet entered a plea.

Griscavage's attorney, Peter Goldstein, told Courthouse News that he did not believe video was taken of the incident involving his client.

"It took two years for the filing against Deputy Jackson. That's a long time," Goldstein said in an interview.

"Finally the investigation was concluded and they did the right thing by charging the deputy. It's too bad that it took as long as it did but we're happy nonetheless that they filed charges, and we look forward to our day in court."

In his 13-page lawsuit, Griscavage repeats the allegations he made in a declaration filed by the ACLU last year. He claims that Jackson assaulted him on Dec. 25, 2010, during a routine search of cells at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.

After Griscavage failed to immediately drop to his knees as deputies began inspecting cells, Jackson shouted, "'Get the fuck down! Are you fucking stupid?'" according to the complaint.

Griscavage claims that Jackson told him: "'Next time you better get your ass down,'" to which Griscavage responded by "display(ing) his middle finger to Jackson."

Twenty minutes later, Griscavage claims, Jackson ordered him to spread his arms and legs against the wall outside his cell, "painfully kicked plaintiff's ankles," and "savagely and painfully applied handcuffs," pulling his "handcuffed arms up toward his shoulders in a severely painful 'chicken wing' position."

"Jackson then forced plaintiff to walk into an area with 4-5 other deputies whose identities are presently unknown to plaintiff away from the pod. Plaintiff does not remember what happened next because he blacked out," the complaint states.

"The next event he remembers is waking up groggy in a hospital in severe pain with blood all over his head, face, and chest. He was told by an unknown deputy that the corners of both of his eyes had been split open, the top of his left ear was cut, and that he had a chipped tooth. Plaintiff could feel lumps on his head and his nose was broken. Other inmates who witnessed the beating informed plaintiff that defendant Jackson had struck plaintiff's head, with his handcuffs still applied behind his back, after which plaintiff hit the floor and received kicks, punches and other strikes to his body, head, and face from Jackson."

The Los Angeles Times reported that other inmates were told to mop up Griscavage's blood after the attack.

Abuse of inmates in Los Angeles prisons, has been an ongoing and "unresolved problem," Griscavage says in the complaint.

Two decades ago, Los Angeles County appointed a commission headed by retired Judge James Kolts to investigate abuses against inmates. The Kolt Report was "replete with evidence of corruption including abusive deputy gangs, inadequate training, staffing, supervision, discipline, and a code of silence pertaining to inmates by deputies," according to the complaint.

A September 2012 report by the Civilian Commission on Jail Violence found many of the same problems still exist in the Los Angeles County jail system, the complaint states.

The District Attorney's Office said that Jackson, a 5-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, was charged with assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, assault by a public officer and filing false reports of the incidents, the Times reported.

The sheriff's investigation and charges come as the FBI has been investigating the jail system for reports of excessive force.

Griscavage seeks a jury trial and punitive damages for civil rights violations and deliberate indifference.

The Sheriff's Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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