San Francisco Sheriff Department Deputy Eugene Jones
Running away was not an option for the inmate locked inside a San Francisco jail. Like the gladiators of old, Garcia and others were forced into pugilistic matches, local authorities said. Four San Francisco Sheriff Department Deputies then placed bets on their bouts.
And race may have played a role, said public defender Jeff Adachi. The deputies were white; the coerced convicts all men of color.
The San Francisco County Sheriff’s office has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.
‘Cuff me, Tase me’
“Deputy’s betting against me and forcing me to fight and if I don’t fight, then he’s basically telling me that he was going to beat me up, cuff me, Tase me all at once,” Garcia said in an audio recording.
An attorney for the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the union representing the deputies, called the allegations “exaggerated,” and said the fighting was “little more than horseplay.”
But in a recorded conversation with Adachi, Garcia described a predatory atmosphere of fear and retribution in which deputies would knock over his tray and force him to gamble for his food.
Garcia, who is in custody on drug and gun possession charges, said that earlier this month he was twice forced to fight another inmate, Stanley Harris, to the point where his ribs may have been fractured and he could not sleep on his side because of the pain.
Adachi said the four deputies involved were Neu, Eugene Jones, Clifford Chiba and Evan Staehely. All four have been placed on paid administrative leave.
“They took me down to the hallway and told me to fight another inmate, which was Stanley, and told me if I didn’t fight that I would basically get beat up by themselves, by Deputy Neu,” Garcia said. “And he told me he was going to Mace me and cuff me if I didn’t.”
Neu told Garcia and Harris that if they required medical attention, they were to lie and say they fell off a bunk
Investigator: Inmates forced like gladiators to fight as deputies took bets
S.F. jail inmates forced to fight, public defender says