Jailhouse ‘Gladiators’|Accept Cash Settlement

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Accepting $30,000 apiece in a settlement, three inmates who accused jailers of forcing them to fight like gladiators for food have dropped their lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco.
     City Attorney spokeswoman Andrea Guzman confirmed Monday that the settlement had been reached. The lawsuit was filed in March after an investigation by Public Defender Jeff Adachi revealed that four sheriff’s deputies were running a jailhouse “fight club.”
     The investigation resulted in felony and misdemeanor charges against sheriff’s Officers Eugene Jones and Clifford Chiba and former Officer Scott Neu. A fourth defendant, Evan Staehely, is accused of watching the brawls with indifference and refusing to let one inmate take a timeout after he was kicked in the groin during a fight.
     The three prisoners – Ricardo Palikiko-Garcia, Stanley Harris and Keith Dwayne Richardson – claimed in their federal lawsuit that the deputies made them fight for food and basic necessities such as clothing.
     Harris claimed that Neu often forced him to do push-ups as he insulted him and took away his food, calling him a “fat boy” and referring to him as a “fighter” that Neu was “training.”
     The inmates said jailers made Harris and Palikiko-Garcia fight each other twice. Neither of them wanted to fight, but felt they had no choice because Neu threatened to beat them, take away their jobs or transfer them to jails with fewer privileges, they said.
     The first fight came in March 2015 when Neu marched Palikiko-Garcia and Harris to a secluded area of the jail where no video cameras could record them. He told them to fight in an “anything goes” bout with only one rule – not to punch each other in the face, they said.
     “If either of you gets injured, you are to say that you fell out of the bunk beds,” Neu allegedly told them.
     He promised a cheeseburger to the winner.
     Palikiko- Garcia won the first fight in three minutes after put Harris in a headlock and making him tap out, but he didn’t get the cheeseburger, he said.
     The men claimed Neu routinely made inmates play cards games and dice with him for basic necessities such as food and clothing, but even when they won Neu would often deny them the spoils he promised,.
     A few days after the first fight, Neu made Palikiko-Garcia and Harris do it again, as Jones and Staehely looked on with indifference, according to the lawsuit.
     In the second fight, Harris kicked Palikiko-Garcia in the groin and injured his shoulder and ribs, but the jailers refused to let Palikiko-Garcia take a timeout. The jailers ended that fight after two other officers unexpectedly walked toward the area, and Neu voiced concern they might “say something,” according to the inmates.
     Their lawsuit listed 18 causes of action against the city, sheriff’s department and deputies, including multiple civil rights violations, assault, neglect and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     Their attorneys John Burris and Lateef Gray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

%d bloggers like this: