(CN) – An architect says in a class action that she and other women were put in an Alameda County jail with walls stained with feces and blood, and that she was not provided with menstrual pads or tampons.
Cynthia N. Turano sued a number of Alameda County Sheriff’s Office employees, as well as Oakland police for civil rights violations.
According to the Dec. 5 complaint, Oakland police arrested Turano on Christmas Day last year, after her husband reported that she had violated a restraining order. The couple was going through a divorce, and her husband claimed she had taken his camera.
No charges were filed against Turano, but she was booked into custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, about 25 miles outside of Oakland.
There, she says, she was put in a jail cell with “fecal matter spread over the walls and bench.”
“There were two or more old bloody hand print smears. These hand smears were the hue of dark reddish brown, and dried. These prints were on the wall,” the 17-page complaint says.
Turano also reported that phone numbers posted on the wall to inform detainees who to call if they were abused by an officer, or needed other assistance, were illegible.
Another holding cell was full of garbage, food debris and used medical supplies, and was also stained with bodily fluids, Turano says in the lawsuit. Deputies also did not give her a menstrual pad or a tampon, even though she requested one.
“Because plaintiff was menstruating and bleeding over her clothes, the blood seeped through her pants and onto the concrete bench. Plaintiff’s menstrual blood began to puddle on the bench,” the complaint says.
“Due to this situation, Plaintiff began knocking and banging on the door and window to get help,” the complaint continues. “During this long period of time, Plaintiff never saw a sheriff’s deputy pass by. Not a single sheriff’s deputy checked the room, not even peering through the glass window.”
When a deputy finally brought Turano a pad, she had bled through her pants, and the only water she could use to wash her hands came from a drinking fountain, she says.
The following morning, when she was released from jail, Turano was forced to take public transportation “dressed in wet, visibly blood-stained clothing,” according to the complaint.
The Alameda County defendants also include Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern, Assistant Sheriff Brett M. Keteles, Detentions and Corrections Unit Commander Tom Madigan, and jail officer D. Skoldqvist.
Individual Oakland police J. Durant, J. Adaya and Ryan Paul Tioyao are also named as defendants.
The defendants violated Turano and others’ rights against cruel and unusual punishment and their equal protection rights, the lawsuit claims.
Turano says she filed the lawsuit “on behalf of female arrestees who are placed into the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office within a 6 month period of December 26, 2016, and held in the Intake, Transfer and Release (ITR) unit.”
Yolanda Huang represents Turano and the proposed class in the lawsuit, which was filed in San Francisco federal court.
Last year, the family of a man who died in the Santa Rita Jail sued Alameda County and the jail’s health care providers for negligence and civil rights violations. The family says Mario Martinez died of a nasal passage blockage that could have been treated.