Guards Forced Inmates Into 'Gladiator' Fights: Lawyer

Public defender says San Francisco deputies placed bets, threatened prisoners
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2015 10:04 AM CDT
Guards Forced Inmates Into 'Gladiator' Fights: Lawyer
Guards are accused of making at least two inmates duke it out.   (Shutterstock)

If they won, they would get hamburgers; if they lost, they would be beaten or experience other negative consequences. This was just one example of the conditions given to two inmates in forced fights that Public Defender Jeff Adachi says were arranged by guards in San Francisco's main county jail, Reuters reports. The report Adachi released yesterday reveals details of the alleged battles, claiming that four guards—including Deputy Scott Neu, who settled out of court almost a decade ago after accusations he forced two transgender inmates to perform sexual acts on him—trained at least one of the prisoners to fight, placed bets on the jailhouse battles, and then demanded the inmates lie about their injuries, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "Deputy Neu forced these young men to participate in gladiator-style fights for his own sadistic entertainment," Adachi said in a statement, per Reuters.

One inmate who was allegedly forced to fight told Adachi that Neu had instructed them to say they fell out of their bunks if they needed medical treatment; that inmate, who weighs 150 pounds, says he was made to fight a 350-pound inmate. An attorney for the city's sheriffs' union issued a statement to the Chronicle that said the accusations were "exaggerated," the fighting "horseplay," and Adachi's efforts "a cursory sham investigation." Adachi, meanwhile, says he went public now because he got wind of another planned fight. Neu and three other deputies are on paid administrative leave until the investigation wraps up, per Reuters; the two inmates have been transferred for "their protection," the San Francisco sheriff said at a press conference yesterday. (Read more San Francisco stories.)

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