San Bernardino County, Calif., has settled for almost $2.75 million in three of five federal lawsuits filed by dozens of current and former inmates at a Rancho Cucamonga jail who alleged a pattern of physical abuse by deputies there, reports the Riverside Press-Enterprise. The county has agreed to pay $2.5 million to 32 plaintiffs in one case. Last month it agreed to pay $175,000 to plaintiff Eric Smith, one of the first inmates to report the abuse, which is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. Another ex-inmate settled for $70,000.
The allegations first came to light in March 2014. The inmates claimed they were subjected to Taser gun torture and brutal pat-down searches that their attorneys characterized as sodomy. The allegations prompted the terminations of seven sheriff’s deputies and sweeping reforms and security upgrades at the jail, one of four in the county operated by the Sheriff’s Department.