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ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Attorney describes inmate's alleged beating by Santa Clara County deputies

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An attorney for an inmate at the Santa Clara County Jail spoke exclusively to ABC7 News about his client's alleged beating at the hands of two correctional deputies and about the lawsuit they will be filing. (KGO-TV)

There are new complaints of pervasive violence among deputies at the Santa Clara County Jail from an inmate who is recovering from a beating. And more inmates are coming forward with new allegations after three correctional deputies were charged with murder in an inmate's death. An attorney representing one of those inmates spoke exclusively with ABC7 News.

On Friday afternoon, the sheriff's office dispatched criminal detectives and internal affairs investigators to the main jail. They locked down the sixth floor and swapped out the correctional deputies after some inmate witnesses to Michael Tyree's death reported being threatened by correctional deputies.

ABC7 News first reported last Thursday that another inmate being treated for a broken jaw at Valley Medical Center said he sustained the injury at the hands of two correctional deputies. Initially, that inmate said one of the correctional deputies who beat him up was one of the same ones accused of killing Michael Tyree. Now, the inmate says he got that part wrong. The attorney representing him says he was beaten so badly, including from behind, that he couldn't see who was hurting him.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Inmate describes night Michael Tyree died


"As they're beating him they're telling him, 'If you want this to stop you need to say I am a b****,'" said attorney Robert Powell, who represents Santa Clara County Jail inmate Ruben Garcia.

According to Garcia, two correctional deputies beat him up in July. At the time, the inmate was in an interview room, waiting for his cell on the sixth floor of the jail.

"He was left to sit there for about four hours and he complained," said Powell.

His complaints, according to the attorney, resulted in the correctional deputies banging his head against the ground and hitting him.

Photos given to ABC7 News show Garcia after his most recent surgery. After the July incident, Powell says his client had a gash, black eye, lacerations to his head, and a broken jaw.

"The broken jaw wasn't discovered until it manifested itself in what appeared to be an abscessed tooth and then the abscessed tooth led to an x-ray and they found that the jaw had been fractured," he said.

Garcia was treated at Valley Medical.



A spokesperson with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office told ABC7 News off camera that Garcia got injured during a fight with another inmate.

Powell says Garcia told him there was an inmate on inmate scuffle, but that it was later and lasted less than 30 seconds.

"He says, 'I received no injury from that, I already had blood all of my face, I'd already cleaned out the cut from my eye,'" said the attorney.

VIDEO: New allegations surface of mistreatment of Santa Clara inmates


In an emailed statement, a sheriff's office spokesperson Sgt. James Jensen said, "Our team of detectives is aware of the new allegations from Mr. Garcia and/or his representatives. The events that occurred on or about July 24 were documented on that date. Our detectives are looking at all the evidence and documents to determine if there were any inconsistencies or issues with the original documentation. This is an ongoing investigation."

Powell says he will file a civil lawsuit in the next 14 to 21 days. It will name the county and two correctional deputies. He also says he may be representing additional inmates in similar excessive force cases in the near future.

"You can't discount these people's stories, there's too many of them," he said.

Powell also said he may file a Monell Claim. If he does, it would suggest that there's some fault or failure in the pattern, practices, and policies surrounding the correctional deputies' training.

Related Topics:
crimehomicidehomicide investigationmurderjail deathsanta clara countysheriffarrestviolenceinvestigationbeatingbeating deathSanta Clara
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