2 Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies arrested in connection with inmate beating

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Two deputies have been arrested in connection with the beating of a former inmate at the Santa Clara County Jail.

The two jail deputies, Than Le, 41, and Phillip Abecendario, 27, are facing charges of assault under the Color of Authority on an inmate who suffered a broken jaw.

"My head split open, I felt the blood running down my face," said Ruben Garcia.

Investigators say the 49-year-old Garcia suffered a broken jaw last July.

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Garcia said he asked for help, "I told him, 'Please, I need medical attention, my eye is split open. Please you have to help me.' And he just looked at me and kept walking."

"Our Sheriff's Major Crime Detective Unit interviewed over 24 inmates and witnesses. They traveled down to a prison on the California-Mexico border and interviewed a witness and once we determined we believe we have a case, we brought that case over to the district attorney's office," said Sgt. James Jensen, with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The two correctional deputies have been on administrative leave most of the year during the investigation.

Garcia's attorney earlier filed a civil suit against them. In the suit, Garcia says that Deputy Le apologized the next day for injuring him, but only went so far.

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The next day Garcia said, "And I remember telling him 'Look what you did to me, look at my face man.' And he goes 'It is what it is, welcome to my dorm,'" he said.

Garcia's beating might have been ignored until inmate Michael Tyree in a nearby sixth floor lockup, died after a beating by three different jail deputies a month later. That incident prompted sheriff Laurie Smith to investigate other beating allegations.

Those jail deputies are already facing murder charges.

"They're under the microscope, so those problems that you have with power in any institution like the Sheriff's department are still going to come back, but I think lessons will be learned," said Robert Powell, Garcia's attorney.

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