OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Three Alameda County deputies and one former deputy were arrested on Thursday for alleged mistreatment of inmates at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to authorities.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office issued the announcement Thursday, stating the offices Investigation Bureau arrested the three men and one woman after an investigation that began in January of this year into alleged incidents at Santa Rita Jail that took place in the summer and fall of 2016.
The allegations involved claims that the sheriff’s deputies who worked at Santa Rita Jail facilitated and allowed an inmate to throw bodily fluids consisting of feces and urine onto other inmates housed in a maximum security unit of the jail. The reporting correctional deputy learned of the incident when one of the inmates who was targeted in his cell asked for a linen exchange. The guard responded, “You just had a linen exchange!” The inmate replied, “Yes, but I got gassed.”
“Gassing” is the prison term for targeting an individual with thrown feces and urine. It is usually thrown by inmates at officers in prison, not at other prisoners.
After authorities determined the seriousness of the allegations, a criminal investigation was launched by Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern and assigned to detectives at the Eden Township Substation in San Leandro.
The investigation focused on a series of incidents at Santa Rita Jail that happened between the summer and fall of 2016. During the course of the investigation, extensive interviews were conducted with over 40 individuals including Sheriff’s Office employees, Alameda County inmates, and inmates at various California state prisons.
During the investigation, three of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office employees in question were placed on administrative leave, while one employee resigned. The investigation into the incidents led detectives to believe there was probable cause to charge the four individuals for their criminal activity against the inmates.
The findings were presented to the Alameda County Superior Court and probable cause arrest warrants were issued for thee four suspects who were arrested Thursday afternoon. The suspects are identified as Sarah Krause, Justin Linn, Erik McDermott and Stephen Sarcos. Justin Linn and Erik McDermott were arrested for intimidation of a witness and assault under the color of authority; Sarah Krause and Stephen Sarcos were arrested for assault under the color of authority for a single incident in Fall 2016.
Alameda County Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern said in the release that he was “deeply disturbed and saddened” by the alleged misconduct and criminal behavior.
“We have sought charges against the four individuals and they must now answer to these allegations,” said Sheriff Ahern. “Although these allegations are egregious and shocking, the actions of these four individuals do not reflect the dedication and professionalism of the 1600 employees who work at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.”