That is a great analogy, Marcy. And thanks for bringing this important story to our attention. Since it is very current, I did a brief write-up and submitted it to police accountability site CopBlock.org:
From: "Your friends at CopBlock.org" <ademo@...>
Date: March 27, 2015 9:04:01 PM PDT
Subject: For your records: your submission to CopBlock.org/Submit
Thanks for your submission via http://CopBlock.org/Submit, which is shared below for your own records.
If the content you shared is relevant, it will be posted to CopBlock.org in the near future, at which point it will also push to http://Facebook.com/CopBlock and http://Twitter.com/CopBlock
Decentralization is key to the spread of ideas - your involvement is much appreciated!
Peace and love.
Breaking News: San Francisco Sheriff's Deputies Staged 'Gladiator' FIghts Among Jail Inmates
March 3, 2015 - ongoing
Deputy Scott Neu, Deputy Clifford Chiba, Deputy Jones (first name unconfirmed), and Deputy Staehly (first name also not given).
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi - (415) 554-7235 / Ross.Mirkarimi@...
The San Francisco Examiner ( http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/public-defender-sf-jail-guards-staged-prisoner-fights/Content?oid=2924741&utm_source=The+Examiner+E-dition&utm_campaign=703c193612-Examiner_Daily_E_Dition1_16_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2b97b1e7f-703c193612-260802765 ) reported today that the Public Defender's Office has revealed evidence of prison guards at the county jail staging fights among inmates for their own amusement.
This would not be the first time that Public Defender Jeff Adachi (a rare elected Democrat who's not only excellent on civil liberties but who also attempted to champion the economic cause of pension reform at great political cost to himself) has been an outspoken champion against law enforcement abuses.
Last month, SFPD officer Arshad Razzak was convicted on federal civil rights charges after Adachi's office obtained surveillance video from low income residential hotels that gave evidence of officers searching residents' homes without warrants and stealing their possessions (see http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/one-officer-convicted-one-acquitted-of-violating-civil-rights-in-hotel-room-search/Content?oid=2917574 among others).
In a news conference yesterday, the Public Defender revealed allegations from numerous inmates of the SF County Jail that named prison guards were involved in staging "gladiator" style fights among the inmates, and betting money on the fights.
According to the article, these incidents came to light when one inmate's father told a Public Defender's Office attorney that his son had said he was being forced to fight. Subsequent interviews with inmates by private investigator Barry Simon implicated multiple sheriff's deputies in the abuses. Simon reported his findings to Adachi on March 25.
Although the Deputy Sheriff's union is predictably acting like its members can do no wrong and trying to impugn Adachi's reputation, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has joined the Public Defender in calling for an independent investigation. In some ways the timing of the incident is unfortunate, because Mirkarimi, a liberal Democrat (and former Green Party member) like Adachi who has attempted to address issues such as the practice of innocent people being incarcerated in the jail on "pretrial detention" because they cannot afford bail, is in a tough reelection fight against a less civil liberties friendly opponent who is being backed by the Deputy Sheriff's Association and other law enforcement unions.
Nevertheless, justice must be done. Mirkarimi needs to hear the message that standing up for justice will help him more than hurt him -- this story can show the public why we *need* a sheriff who will have zero tolerance for human rights abuses by his personnel.
Four named deputies alleged to have been involved with the inmate fights have been transferred by the Sheriff's Department to positions where they will not be in contact with inmates, but that is not good enough. These individuals need to be put on *unpaid* leave from the department, and if the allegations against them are upheld, they should lose their jobs and be prosecuted!
Thank you to Pete and everyone at CopBlock for your work in stopping police abuse and holding cops accountable!