Ten inmates attack guard after finding homemade alcohol while appearing intoxicated
According to Sheriff Laurie Smith, a correctional officer was violently assaulted on Christmas Eve, having been punched and kicked in the head, body, and groin by an inmate who had first appeared to be drunk after illegally-made alcohol was discovered on his person.
The inmate refused to hand it over and instead dropped it on the floor. The officer was attacked while picking the bag up but was able to call for help, and fellow guards quickly intervened.
The officer was treated for a torn shoulder rotator cuff, along with minor cuts and bruising.
The inmate has been transferred to the Santa Clara Main Jail, where he now faces new charges of attack on a correctional officer and is now held in maximum security.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department has been under severe scrutiny as of late, from the suspected murder of an inmate to malicious and prejudiced texts sent between jail guards at Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose and the Adult Correctional Facility (Elmwood) in Milpitas.
The surfacing of the text messages has resulted in a demand by the news media to review them and identify those who exchanged them. One in particular, released by the San Jose Mercury News, read, “Cops have already killed 550 people in 2015.” The response by a second officer: “If they’re black, it doesn’t count.”
There are also other incidents that have gone unreported, such as Sheriff’s deputies’ alleged mistreatment and criticism of traffic court defendants. One such incident involved a female deputy allegedly mocking a woman who was unfamiliar with the building and could not find the correct department.
With a total of 244 excessive force complaints against guards at the main jail in 2015, there is concern that this has become the new norm for handling inmates who step out of line.
Santa Clara County District 4 supervisor Cindy Chavez and County Sheriff Laurie Smith have been working together to establish a 25-member commission to evaluate the manner in which guards are treating inmates, most notably in response to public outrage over the death Michael Tyree, a 31-year-old inmate who is suspected to have been beaten to death by three Santa Clara County guards.
La Doris Cordell, former chair of the San Jose Internal Affairs Division, agreed to head the commission.