The FBI is looking into complaints of excessive force at the 2,500-inmate Sacramento County jail, reports the Sacramento Bee. The FBI’s interest comes after a story in Sunday’s Bee about a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that excessive force is sanctioned and an ongoing practice by sheriff’s deputies who guard the jail. Reaction to the article included additional claims of brutality at the hands of officers including one that allegedly occurred early Saturday morning and left the arrested man with a broken nose.
In the lawsuit, Jafar Afshar alleges that the Sheriff’s Department has a pattern of allowing excessive force at the jail. One video clis shows Afshar’s 2003, booking on suspicion of public intoxication. The tape depicts Afshar lying in a pool of blood after deputies pulled him down during a pat-down search, causing his head to hit the jail floor. On Afshar’s behalf, retired sheriff’s Lt. Timothy Twomey wrote in an expert declaration to the court that each of three cases shows a culture of using pain for punishment in the jail. The Sheriff’s Department denies the allegations of excessive force. Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams, who watched the video earlier, told the Bee that, “If what the deputies did inside the jail was done in street clothes outside, there would be felony charges.”