Santa Clara County Jail Guards Abuse Their Power and Beat Inmate to Death
New details have emerged about the fatal beating of a Santa Clara County Jail inmate by three jail guards last month. Inmate witnesses have revealed that they heard the victim, Michael Tyree “Tyree”, begging the officers to stop during the beating. Other inmates have given statements that the officers knew that Tyree was mortally wounded, but nevertheless left him there to die and returned one hour later “acting surprised” by his condition. At least one inmate has stated that the officers left the cell looking like they knew something was wrong and turned the light off while exiting—a practice they typically never do for safety concerns.
Tyree, who was mentally ill, was behind bars for a probation violation on a minor drug charge. He was ordered to a drug treatment center, but was being temporarily housed at the jail until a bed was available. Fellow inmates stated that he was harmless and clearly mentally ill. Inmates also stated that jail guards pick on the mentally ill who cannot protect themselves and do not usually have families to log complaints.
A Santa Clara County medical examiner concluded that Tyree died of massive internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma. Tyree’s liver and spleen were lacerated and his body sustained cuts and bruises. The three guards involved in the beating have since been charged with murder. The guards claim they were trying to get Tyree to take his medication.
Complaints of abuse and neglect at the Santa Clara County jail have risen over the last three years. This is largely in part due to inadequate training, unqualified personnel and understaffing. According to the San Jose Mercury News, jail guards, who have limited police powers, used to be supervised by sheriff’s deputies, who have four times as much training and are higher paid. However, over the protest of the deputies’ union, the Sheriff’s Office replaced those more experienced, better trained deputies with cheaper correctional officers.
If you or a loved one was a victim of an abuse of power by a governmental employee, contact the Piccuta Law Group today for a free consultation. Our firm handles claims against the government including violations of civil rights.