Inmates in San Francisco Forced Into Gladiator-Style Fights

sanfrancisco-county-jailRelease from San Francisco Public Defender’s Officer

A San Francisco Sheriff’s Deputy who was the subject of a past sexual assault lawsuit has been accused of an array of misconduct, including forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.

Adachi launched the investigation, conducted by the independent private investigation firm Simon Associates, after an inmate’s father alerted his son’s public defender to the abuse on March 12. Several other inmates subsequently came forward with reports of abuse. The public defender released the report today after learning deputies were planning another inmate fight.

Deputy Scott Neu is accused of twice forcing two inmates to fight at the county jail on the 7th Floor of 850 Bryant. Both alleged fights took place in March. Inmates Rico Palikiko Garcia and Stanly Harris were promised hamburgers if they won and threatened with Mace, handcuffed beatings, and transfers to dangerous housing quarters if they refused to fight, according to witnesses interviewed by private investigator Barry Simon. Both men were injured in the fights, but were threatened with beatings if they sought medical treatment.

“These revelations are sickening,” Adachi said. “Deputy Neu forced these young men to participate in gladiator-style fights for his own sadistic entertainment.”

Neu allegedly paired the smallest man in the living pod to fight the largest. Garcia is 150 pounds and Harris is approximately 350 pounds. Witnesses said he also appeared to delight in humiliating the out-of-shape Harris, forcing the overweight man to perform boot camp-style exercises. Neu allegedly called Harris “Fat Boy” and referred to him as his fighter he was training.

Investigators also interviewed witnesses who said Neu regularly forced inmates to gamble for their own possessions and food.

Another inmate, Keith Richardson, reported Neu tried to goad him into fighting another inmate and regularly bullies both inmates and staff so they will not intervene.

Inmate Jonathan Christopher told the investigator that Neu forced him to clean up human waste and vomit without protective gloves or clothing, while inmate Quincy Lewis told the investigator he witnessed Neu behaving in a way that suggested sexual misconduct with a female jail worker.

Simon, a seasoned investigator, said he was struck by both the consistency in the inmates’ accounts and by the fear they expressed.

It is not the first time Neu has faced public allegations. He was accused in 2006 of forcing both a male and female inmate to perform sexual acts on him. That case was settled out of court.

Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez of the Public Defender’s Office said law enforcement officers must stop protecting abusive or dishonest colleagues.

“These acts cannot occur without the acceptance of law abiding deputies,” Gonzalez said. “They are complicit by remaining silent.”

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi condemned the alleged abuse and has relocated the deputies involved in the alleged incidents. Adachi has called for an investigation by state or federal officials.

Additional information:

Audio: Jeff Adachi interviews Ricardo Garcia

Transcript: Statement of Ricardo Palikiko Garcia

Audio: Jeff Adachi interviews Stanley Harris

Transcript: Statement of Stanley Harris

Public Defender Inquiry

Letter re Sheriff Deputies misconduct

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    1. hpierce

      Very true comment, but yet, look at the credentials of another SF Police Officer, veteran, ‘hero’, good ‘religious’  boy, and SF Supervisor.  Extremely few PO’s, veterans, heroes, observant Catholics, and elected officials are capable/inclined to perform horrific acts… yet…

      ‘Broad brush’, as Frankly says, definitely does not apply.  There are “outliers”, that we must be prepared to deal with, to protect society.

      [sensitive to me, as I lost my City’s State legislator, in a place called Jonestown, around the same week.]

    2. David Greenwald

      I never get this response. Does it excuse whoever did this if they are simply one bad apple? Does that make it any less disturbing? That said, agree with Tia, it doesn’t seem plausible that this type of thing could happen unless a large number of people were either involved or looked the other way.

    1. zaqzaq

      It could be that the accusations were unfounded after an internal investigation.  Many nuisance lawsuits settle as a cost savings measure.  I also find it interesting that the Public Defender used a private investigator instead of a law enforcement agency.  The feds could have been brought in to legitimize the investigation.  What am I saying, that would mean a Holder investigation is unbiased and credible.  I also wonder how credible the complaining “victims” are and what their backgrounds are.  It is also interesting that the public offender is using county funds for an independent criminal investigation.  Interesting politics in SF.

      1. David Greenwald

        They probably used a private investigator because using law enforcement to investigate law enforcement is fraught with conflicts of interest.

  1. hpierce

    Perhaps they should have had one more match… between the detective and the jerk officer who spewed all the rascist comments.  Winner gets a chance to plea to lesser charges, loser is prosecuted to the max.  Nah, probably not a good idea, but…

  2. Tia Will

    One bad apple does not represent the bunch.”

    Unless they are complicit through their knowledge of the behavior and choose to remain silent in which they are culpable.

  3. Biddlin

    More than one bad apple in this department and the rot has been apparent for years. A singer of my acquaintance was raped by a SFPD officer and coerced into recanting the charges by several others. Thuggish is the norm.


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