Three San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs Charged in Connection With Jail House "Fight Club"

News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2016

@GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:       ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931

MAX SZABO (415) 553-9089

THREE SAN FRANCISCO DEPUTY SHERIFFS CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH JAIL HOUSE “FIGHT CLUB”

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón was joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to announce the filing of felony and misdemeanor charges against three former and current San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD) deputies in connection with the jail house “fight club,” where deputies allegedly ordered inmates to fight each other against their will.  The defendants are former Deputy Sheriff Scott Neu, and current Deputy Sheriffs Eugene Jones and Clifford Chiba. 

“These are serious crimes that damage the moral authority of law enforcement,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Subjecting inmates who are in the care and custody of the state to degrading and inhumane treatment makes a mockery of our justice system and undermines any efforts towards rehabilitation.”

“These charges represent our commitment to aggressively investigate misuses of power and breaches of public trust,” said Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. “We, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, will continue to seek out injustices such as these and hold those entrusted with upholding and enforcing the law to the highest standard.”

According to court documents, on March 5, 2015, former Deputy Scott Neu forced county jail inmates Ricardo Palakiko-Garcia and Stanley Harris to fight each other on the seventh floor of the County Jail at 850 Bryant Street.  Neu allegedly told Garcia and Harris that if they did not fight each other, Neu would handcuff them, mace or tase them, beat them, and send them to a different jail location that would carry fewer privileges.  The two inmates fought each other because they felt they had no choice.  One of the inmates was substantially larger than the other; the smaller of the two inmates sustained an injury to his rib in this first fight.  Deputy Clifford Chiba was allegedly present during this forced fighting match, and failed to stop the fight from occurring, thereby failing to protect Garcia and Harris from harm or injury as he is required by law.  Deputy Chiba also allegedly later provided advice to one of the inmates about how to proceed in a subsequent round. 

The next day, on March 6, 2015, former Deputy Neu is alleged to have again forced Garcia and Harris to fight each other.  Deputy Eugene Jones is alleged to have forced the two inmates to participate in this second fighting match.  Despite the fact that both inmates again initially refused to fight, they eventually fought each other because they thought they had no choice but to participate or be physically harmed by former Deputy Neu.  It is alleged that both Neu and Jones were present for that fight, and that both actively encouraged the inmates during the fight. 

Between October 3, 2014 and March 25, 2015, former Deputy Neu is alleged to have repeatedly ordered Stanley Harris to perform push-ups and dips against his will.  It is also alleged that Neu regularly forced Harris and other inmates to gamble for food, clean clothing, bedding, and other possessions while they were in the county jail. 

Former Deputy Neu is charged with felonies for directing under color of authority the assaults on March 5 and March 6, 2015, and for issuing criminal threats against Garcia and Harris.  He is also charged with misdemeanors for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on Garcia and Harris, and for inhumanity against the inmates in his care.

Deputy Jones is charged with felonies for directing under color of authority the assaults on March 6, 2015.  He is also charged with misdemeanors for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on Garcia and Harris, and for willfully failing to perform an official duty. 

Deputy Chiba is charged with misdemeanors for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on Garcia and Harris, and for willfully failing to perform an official duty.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the San Francisco District Attorney Investigations Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, a partnership recently formalized as the San Francisco Public Corruption Task Force.  The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs’ Division assisted the Public Corruption Task Force during this year-long investigation.  Assistant District Attorney Kelly S. Burke is prosecuting the case. 

The following charges have been brought against the following defendants:

Scott R Neu

Felony Counts: Assault by Officer under Color of Authority (4 counts); Criminal Threats (4 counts).

Misdemeanor Counts: Inhumanity to Prisoner (4 counts); Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Prisoner (5 counts).

Total: 17 counts.

Exposure10 years and 2 months in State Prison.  If convicted, he faces disqualification from holding any office in the state. 

Eugene A Jones                                                 

Felony Counts: Assault by Officer under Color of Authority (2 counts).

Misdemeanor Counts: Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Prisoner (2 counts); Willful Omission to Perform Official Duty (1 count).

Total: 5 counts.

Exposure5 years and 2 months of Local Imprisonment pursuant to 1170(h). If convicted, he faces disqualification from holding any office in the state. 

Clifford T Chiba

Misdemeanor Counts: Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Prisoner (2 counts); Willful Omission to Perform Official Duty (1 count).

Total: 3 counts.

Exposure1 year and 6 months in County Jail. If convicted, he faces disqualification from holding any office in the state.