A sheriff’s deputy in Southern California is accused of burning an inmate with hot water at a jail’s mental health center, according to authorities Wednesday.
The deputy, who was not identified in a statement by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, was working in the mental health housing module in the Orange County Jail on April 1 when he was serving an inmate with a disciplinary notice for a rule violation. The inmate refused multiple times to sign the notice and stuck his hands in the open hatch in the door, the statement adds.
When he refused to withdraw his hands so the deputy could secure the hatch, the deputy left and returned with two other deputies to help in “gaining voluntary compliance from the inmate,” authorities said.
“The deputies approached the inmate and again requested his compliance to bring his hands back inside the cell. When the inmate refused, a deputy is suspected of throwing hot water on the inmate’s arm,” the statement said. “During a later security check, the inmate told another deputy that he was injured from the incident and requested medical assistance. The inmate had visible injuries and was provided medical attention.”
The following day, all three deputies were put on administrative leave and an investigation was immediately launched, according to the sheriff’s department.
The case was submitted April 21 to the Orange County District Attorney’s office for evaluation of the charges. The Sheriff’s Department is also continuing its investigation to determine whether policy violations were committed.
The three deputies were not identified because of state law personnel protection for police officers, officials said.
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“I am absolutely intolerant of this behavior,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “Deputies working in the Orange County Jail are responsible for providing care and safety for the inmates in our custody, not causing harm or injury. Unfortunately, the actions of one can reflect on the many, but I want to make it clear that this is not indicative of the conduct of deputies inside the Orange County Jail.”
The deputies’ actions and subsequent investigation come during present calls to examine police brutality after a guilty verdict was announced Tuesday against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the death of George Floyd last May.
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