‘Embarrassed, shocked, and ashamed’: Sheriff arrests 4 deputies in feces-throwing scandal
Four Alameda County Sheriff’s Department deputies were released on bond after being arraigned on charges for allowing inmates to throw urine and feces at each other.
“Several Alameda County Correctional deputies are under arrest, and soon to be fired, for alleged misconduct at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin,” KTVU reports. “The charges involve allowing, even directing, inmates to pelt other inmates with urine and feces.”
The practice is known as “gassing” or “chucking” in prison slang.
“The four people arrested Thursday are Sarah Krause, Justin Linn, Erik McDermott and Stephen Sarcos, NBC Bay Area reports. “Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said Krause, Linn and McDermott have been placed on administrative leave and Sarcos has resigned. Kelly said bail for Linn and McDermott has been set at $135,000 and bail for Krause and Sarcos has been set at $35,000.”
All four posted bond and were released from jail.
“Linn and McDermott were arrested on suspicion of intimidation of a witness and assault under the color of authority,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Krause and Sarcos were arrested on suspicion of assault under the color of authority for a single incident in fall 2016, according to the statement. Kelly said the department believes no other employees were involved.”
“It has shocked the conscience of our entire agency, it is a terrible event,” Sheriff Greg Ahern told KTVU. “It can’t be explained, it can’t be understood, we are embarrassed, shocked, and ashamed and that’s why we took such harsh actions.”
Even the public defender assigned to the case said he was “horrified and appalled” by the allegations.
“Misconduct like this should never be tolerated,” Brendan Woods said. “Our office will cooperate in any way necessary to ensure that these deputies are held accountable and that this abuse does not continue to happen.”
An inmate who identified himself as Ruben Febo Jr. wrote a whistle-blower letter to the East Bay Times
“I was placed into a cell that was saturated in feces from the floor to the ceiling and all over the bunk beds,” Febo wrote. “I was made to go into this cell involuntarily.”
Febo wrote deputies target inmates who “had no family to tell” or “lacked to capacity to speak up for themselves.
“I (bore) witness to an inhuman living environment, illegal criminal procedures/practice at the hands of many housing deputies and an inmate in which the deputies utilized to help carry out torture/torment tactics upon these inmates in these pods,” Febo charged.
“That’s not surprising at all, there are horror stories. That’s one of the lighter ones,” the wife of an inmate told KTVU.
“Folks are not being fed adequate meals, they’re not getting their health care, not getting their mental health care,” Tash Nguyen of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights told KTVU “It’s not a culture of care and healing, it’s a culture of harm and punishment.”
None of the incidents were captured by prison guard body cameras.
Watch KTVU coverage of the scandal: