Deputies charged with forcing inmates to fight plead not guilty

A former deputy and current deputy with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department charged with forcing inmates at the county jail to fight each other against their will pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon.

Former Deputy Scott Neu is charged with assault under the color of authority, issuing criminal threats, inflicting cruel and unusual punishment, and inhumanity against inmates in his care.

Current Deputy Eugene Jones is charged with assault under the color of authority, inflicting cruel and unusual punishment and willfully failing to perform an official duty.

Another current deputy, Clifford Chiba, who is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, is charged with inflicting cruel and unusual punishment and willfully failing to perform an official duty.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office last week announced the felony and misdemeanor charges against the trio in connection with the alleged jailhouse “fight club” incidents, which occurred in March 2015 in the county jail on the seventh floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St.

Starting in October 2014, Neu allegedly forced inmate Stanley Harris to perform push-ups and dips against his will. Neu also allegedly regularly forced Harris and other inmates to gamble for food, clean clothing, bedding, and other possessions, according to prosecutors.

Then on March 5, 2015, Neu allegedly forced Harris and inmate Ricardo Palakiko-Garcia to fight each other, threatening to handcuff, mace, use a Taser stun gun, beat or transfer them if they didn’t comply.

The two inmates allegedly fought each other as Chiba, who was present, did nothing to stop the fight, prosecutors said.

The next day, Neu again forced Harris and Palakiko-Garcia to fight each other. Jones, who was present at the second alleged fight, encouraged the inmates to fight, according to prosecutors.

After the arraignment, Neu’s defense attorney Harry Stern rejected the idea that his client trained inmates to fight and said the district attorney’s office’s use of the word “fight club” was an attempt to sensationalize the case.

District attorney’s office spokesman Max Szabo said the allegations against Neu and Jones are very serious and that Stern was attempting to downplay them.

Both Neu and Jones are next scheduled to appear in court on March 28.

Untitled-1

Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink

county jailCrimeJail FightsSan Francisco District Attorney's OfficeSan Francisco Sheriff’s Department

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

A former inmate and a sheriff’s deputy are among the first four members chosen to serve on the newly created Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Years after fight club scandal, Sheriff’s oversight board takes shape

‘We want to promote law enforcement best practices’

More than a thousand people gathered in front of the California Capitol building to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay at home order and demand that the state re-open on May 1, 2020. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Newsom blames ‘right-wing pundits’ for COVID surge

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday placed the blame… Continue reading

Strong California revenues will allow the state to commit to offering no-cost food to every student. (Amanda Mills/Pixnio)
How California plans to offer free daily meals to 6 million public school students

By Ali Tadayon EdSource With one in every six children facing hunger… Continue reading

Most Read