Orange County sheriff’s officials have accused a deputy of throwing hot water on an inmate’s arm in the mental health-housing module of a jail, leaving “visible injuries” that were discovered hours later, authorities said Wednesday, April 21.
Evidence in support of filing assault charges against a deputy suspected in the incident was submitted to the Orange County District Attorney’s office following an internal criminal investigation, sheriff’s officials said in a news release. He and two other deputies involved in the reported incident have been placed on paid administrative leave, OCSD spokeswoman Carrie Braun said
The alleged assault took place at the OCSD’s Intake/Release Center in Santa Ana on April 1, while a deputy was attempting serve an inmate with a disciplinary notice, sheriff’s officials said. The victim refused to sign the paperwork. He then left his hands hanging out of a hatch and would not follow instructions to put his arms back inside his cell.
The deputy requested support from two others “so they could assist in gaining voluntary compliance from the inmate,” officials said in the release. One of those assisting deputies is suspected of throwing hot water onto the prisoner’s arm at some point during that interaction, Braun said.
The inmate reported the incident hours later during a security check and requested treatment for “visible injuries,” Braun said. Sheriff’s officials declined to go into detail regarding the nature or severity of the victim’s injuries, or identify any of the parties involved.
“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,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement. “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 allegedly involved in the incident were placed on leave the following day, April 2, and a criminal investigation was launched, sheriff’s officials said. A case was submitted to the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Wednesday afternoon, an OCDA official said.
Prosecutors will review the evidence before deciding whether to arrest and file charges against the suspect. A separate investigation conducted by the sheriff’s department also was ongoing Wednesday.
Source: Orange County Register