San Francisco sheriff's deputy Scott Neu is accused of leading a ring of corrupt jail guards who coerced prisoners into gladiatorial combat with threats of rape and violence.
Neu serves at County Jail No. 4 at 850 Bryant St despite having settled claims that he raped a woman prisoner and two transgendered prisoners while working at the jail. He sports a tattoo reading "850 Mob," believed to describe the name used by the corrupt deputies to describe themselves. At least four other deputies are implicated in the program of sexualized torture.
The San Francisco Public Defender's Office had undertaken an investigation into Neu's behavior, in cooperation with an independent private investigator, and had planned to issue their report only after the prisoners who came forward were released and safe from retaliatory violence. However, Neu had reportedly planned a fresh round of fights, leading to a hasty release of their findings.
Neu and his co-conspirators gambled on the outcome of fights. One fight pitted the smallest inmate in the jail against the largest, and the fighters say they were threatened with rape and beatings by the guards if they didn't spar. Neu is also said to have coerced prisoners into training for the fights with threats of rape and violence. Neu has a reputation for sadistic practices overall, including making prisoners gamble to receive their food, clothes and comfort items. Even when prisoners won the games Neu forced on them with the red dice and the deck of cards he carried, he would sometimes take away their "winnings" and give them to other prisoners.
The Deputies' Union attorney Harry Stern claims the Public Defender is making a big deal out of nothing. He says that the prisoners were encouraged to "wrestle to settle disputes about who was stronger," and were "encouraged" to work out. He dismissed the entire affair as "little more than horseplay."
In Los Angeles, Sheriff's office officials are under investigation for similar "horseplay": sexually abusing child prisoners, rape, and murder.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Greg Suhr said he received the report from Adachi and that his department will be investigating to see if there is any criminal wrongdoing.
The allegations “are egregious enough that I forwarded them on (to the special investigations division),” he said.
District Attorney George Gascón called the allegations “deplorable.”
“Common sense indicates that such conduct does not occur without the knowledge of numerous people,” he said in a statement. “These allegations require an independent and thorough investigation into the practices and supervision of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.”
S.F. jail inmates forced to fight, public defender says [Vivian Ho/SF Gate]