San Diego County inmate who should have been protected was assaulted instead

A San Diego County jail inmate who was supposed to be in protective custody was intentionally placed into a cell with a general population detainee who later assaulted him, a citizens’ review board has found.

The inmate said he was targeted by deputies who held a grudge against him, according to a report of the county Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, which provides oversight of the Sheriff’s and Probation departments. It was not clear when the incident occurred.

“The complainant said that he was attacked by a mainline inmate and believed it was done on purpose by Deputy 2 and orchestrated by Deputy 4, because he had heard them bad-mouth him in the past,” the review said.

Neither the inmate nor the officers involved were identified in the report.

The Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on the finding or the referral to additional investigation in advance of a review board meeting set for Tuesday.

Allegations that the detainee was targeted on purpose were not sustained due to a lack of evidence, but the oversight board found that the inmate was wrongly placed into the general jail population.

“The evidence showed that the complainant’s placement with a mainline inmate was improper and Deputy 4 was in violation of Detention Services Bureau Policy & Procedure and facility Green Sheets supporting the procedures,” the report said. “The evidence supported the allegation and the act or conduct was not justified.”

The review board report does not explain how seriously the inmate was injured or identify the guards who were involved in the complaint. It operates as an independent panel and makes policy and disciplinary recommendations when its volunteers see fit.

Board members said their investigation of the inmate’s allegations yielded additional information that should be investigated further.

“Actions of other sworn personnel not identified by the complainant may have played a contributing role in this situation and were referred back to the department for further review,” the review board wrote.

jeff.mcdonald@utsandiego.com

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