Alameda County ‘Rocked’ by ‘Scandals’ in Late May – 3 Officers Charged by District Attorney

By The Vanguard Staff

OAKLAND, CA – Alameda County was “rocked by two scandals” this past week – three officers were charged criminally by the District Attorney, according to news reports.

“A probation officer was accused of sexually abusing an underage inmate at a juvenile facility years ago, and two sheriff’s deputies were accused of covering up a 2021 suicide at a county jail, according to criminal charges filed,” said a FOX 2 San Francisco report.

The alleged inmate suicide cover-up was at the same jail where an inmate died last month from drinking “a profuse amount of water,” the county sheriff’s office said.

“The probation officer, 50-year-old Nicole Perales, was in a “position of trust” when she allegedly had oral sex with a 15-year-old inmate between Aug. 27, 2004 and Aug. 26, 2005, according to Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, said FOX 2 San Francisco.

The DA announced several felony criminal charges against the 20-year veteran of the probation department. She could be sentenced to up to nearly four years in jail if she’s convicted.

The DA also charged two Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies — Sheri Baughman, 49, and Amanda Bracamontes, 30 — with “allegedly falsifying records to cover up their alleged negligence in Vinetta Martin’s apparent suicide in the Santa Rita Jail in 2021,” added FOX 2 San Francisco.

FoxNews added in its report, “Both deputies are accused of doctoring logbooks to make it appear they followed procedure of direct visual observation of a suicidal inmate after Martin, 32, told jail staff she was planning to kill herself three weeks before her death.”

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price said in a statement on April 3, 2021, Martin was found “unconscious and slumped on the floor” of her jail cell, adding logbooks didn’t match video evidence, which allegedly showed the deputies “repeatedly” failing to check on Martin for “extended periods,” as long as one hour and 47 minutes, the district attorney said.

They were supposed to have visual contact every 30 minutes, according to the DA.  

Price said Martin was originally charged with assault and had been in custody since July 2020 and was awaiting evaluation and transfer to the Department of State Hospitals-Napa, according to court records, said FOX 2 San Francisco, adding the “court declared a doubt about whether she was competent to stand trial and suspended the criminal proceedings.”  

Alameda County Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez said after the charges were announced Friday that this is “obviously a difficult day for many reason…The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has cooperated with District Attorney Price’s office in this investigation and will continue to do so going forward.”

“The felony charges against the three county officers were filed by the Alameda County Public Accountability Unit, which Price created in January under the umbrella of the Civil Rights Bureau,” said FOX 2 San Francisco. 

The Santa Rita Jail was mired in controversy April 27, when an unidentified 26-year-old inmate died. And the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to FOX 2 San Francisco that the prisoner drank a “profuse amount of water” and was vomiting the morning of his death.

“Despite his admitted drug use, there was no cause for concern found during the medical and mental health intake process,” the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in previous statements.

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