SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - San Francisco County inmates are forced to fight each other "gladiator-style" for food, and so deputies can bet on the matches, City Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.
Since early March, four sheriff's deputies, including one who was accused of sexually assaulting inmates in 2006, threatened two male prisoners with Mace and beatings if they refused to fight, then gambled on the matches, according to Adachi's office.
Deputy Scott Neu is the alleged ringleader. Neu was accused in 2006 of forcing inmates to perform sex acts on him. The case was settled out of court. The other accused deputies are Eugene Jones, Clifford Chiba and Evan Staehely. All four are on paid administrative leave.
The March 25 report to the San Francisco Public Defender's Office was signed by Barry Simon, with Simon Associates, Private Investigators.
"These revelations are sickening. Deputy Neu forced these young men to participate in gladiator-style fights for his own sadistic entertainment," Adachi said in a statement.
Adachi began investigating the allegations after an inmate's father told his public defender about the abuse on March 12.
On March 23, Adachi interviewed Stanly Harris, 18, whom Neu called "Fat Boy." Harris said Neu made him do push-ups, referring to Harris as a "fighter" he was "training."
Though he said he was embarrassed to admit it to Adachi, Harris said Neu threatened to rape him during those forced workouts, according to the Simon report.
"I'll be doing the push-ups he making me do and he - like, he'll kinda tell me he'll take my cheeks or something like that,'" Harris said.
Neu also made him fight a much smaller inmate, Rico Palikiko Garcia.
"'I'm a small guy. I'm only about five-nine, and I weigh about 150. Stanley is about six, six feet, and he weighs about 350 pounds, at least. I'm the smallest guy in the pod, and he's the biggest,'" Garcia allegedly told Adachi in his March 24 interview.
He added: "'The first fight we were fighting, tussling, wrestling, and punching each other up until I got Stanley into a headlock, and then he eventually tapped out, which - which led the fight to stop.'"
Neu allegedly told Garcia that he would have to fight Harris again because he had bet on Harris, and Neu "'does not like to lose money.' "
Jones allegedly bet on Garcia.
Before the second fight, Jones and Neu allegedly told the inmates that the winner would get a hamburger.
Though Garcia was hit in the groin during the fight, he said, "'They wouldn't let us stop.'"
When Adachi asked Garcia why he agreed to the fights, he replied, "'Cause I
was scared the deputies was gonna cuff me and beat me,'" a threat that he allegedly received several times.
"Garcia is afraid for his safety," Adachi's 16-page report says. "Neu has repeatedly threatened that he would 'fuck him up,' asking if he has 'ever been handcuffed, Maced and had your ass beat?'"
Adachi's report also states that Neu ordered inmate Keith Richardson to attack another inmate with whom he'd argued.
Another inmate, Jonathan Christopher, said Neu made inmates gamble against him for food and clean laundry, sometimes taking their possessions anyway when he lost. He said Neu made him clean up human waste and vomit without gloves.
Christopher said Neu told him he was going to fight next, announcing: "'Friday Night Fights, pay per view!'"
In a letter to Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Adachi demanded an independent investigation of the deputies, saying does not think Mirkarimi's Internal Affairs Department can conduct a fair investigation.
"This is a matter that requires your immediate intervention, in order to ensure the safety of our clients," said the letter, sent Thursday. "Yesterday, I learned from an inmate we had interviewed that a third fight is being planned in the next few days."
City Attorney Matt Gonzalez said in a statement that a culture of abuse has been perpetuated by police officers to protect their colleagues.
"These acts cannot occur without the acceptance of law-abiding deputies. They are complicit by remaining silent," Gonzalez said.
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