3 California deputies arrested; inmate died of blunt trauma

Miami Herald – by MARTHA MENDOZA AND KRISTIN J. BENDER, Associated Press

Three Northern California jail guards have been arrested after an inmate under their watch was found dead of multiple blunt trauma, authorities said.

Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. James Jensen said Thursday that the deputies — Rafael Rodriguez, 27, Jereh Lubrin, 28, and Matthew Farris, 27 — remain in custody without bail.

Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph O’Hara said that Michael James Pipkin Tyree, 31, died of multiple blunt force injuries, visceral lacerations and internal bleeding.  

In this booking photo released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department is Matthew Farris. Farris is one of three California correctional deputies who were arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of an inmate at a county jail, sheriff's officials said Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. A sheriff's spokesman said the deputies were in custody in connection with a death that happened late last week. They are being held without bail.In this booking photo released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department is Jereh Lubrin. Lubrin is one of three California correctional deputies who were arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of an inmate at a county jail, sheriff's officials said Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. A sheriff's spokesman said the deputies were in custody in connection with a death that happened late last week. They are being held without bail.In this booking photo released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department is Rafael Rodriguez. Rodriguez is one of three California correctional deputies who were arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of an inmate at a county jail, sheriff's officials said Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. A sheriff's spokesman said the deputies were in custody in connection with a death that happened late last week. They are being held without bail.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, her voice breaking and eyes tearing up, apologized Thursday to Tyree’s family and said “the disappointment and disgust I feel cannot be overstated.” She was flanked by 18 uniformed officers, and at least another dozen members of her agency in plain clothes attended a news conference.

She said the three officers, who she called “accused murderers,” were treated as anyone else as they were handcuffed, booked and locked in protective custody in the same jail where Tyree was killed. They’ve since been transferred to an unnamed facility for their own protection, she said.

Exactly what happened leading up to Tyree’s death remains murky.

Last Thursday, Tyree and other inmates in his jail wing were securely locked in their cells when the beating apparently took place. Smith refused to provide details but said the three officers were conducting a routine clothing search and left the wing.

She said about an hour later one officer re-entered the cell and issued a “man down” call. Tyree, naked and covered in feces and vomit, was declared dead by responding paramedics.

Smith said she apologized directly to two of Tyree’s sisters earlier Thursday, and repeated her profound sorrow over his death.

Smith said the day after Tyree was declared dead, the guards — who had begun working their regular shift — were removed from duty, stripped of their weapons, uniforms and peace officer status. It took several more days for them to be arrested.

They are on unpaid administrative leave, Smith said.

Attorney Paula Canny, representing Tyree’s family, commended the sheriff for an extraordinary response.

“This could have been dragged out,” Canny said.

Canny urged community members to think about how we, as a system, treat mentally ill people and said she hopes the district attorney will bring the officers to justice.

Raj Jayadev, director of local civil rights organization Silicon Valley De-Bug which works to support families of people in the criminal justice system, said he hopes there are investigations into other abuse complaints at the county jail.

His organization has heard frequent claims, he said, but filing complaints is challenging because it can put inmates at additional risk.

He said he’s hopefully Smith was sincere in her commitment to fully investigate.

Attempts to reach relatives of the deputies were unsuccessful Thursday.

Tyree was homeless and awaiting transfer to a mental-health facility when he died. He was serving a five-day sentence on a petty theft charge.

A former girlfriend told the San Jose Mercury News that Tyree had hoped for a life of peace and tried, although unsuccessfully, to keep his bipolar disorder in check.

Lindsay Solomon, who dated Tyree when she was a teenager in Coral Springs, Florida, told the paper he could get “very agitated and agitate someone else. I could see it escalating.”

“But if you’re a police officer, or a guard, you should have better judgment than that,” she told the newspaper.

Associated Press writer Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article33974292.html#storylink=cpy

10 thoughts on “3 California deputies arrested; inmate died of blunt trauma

  1. Put em in general population ,with those they put there

    Let them find out what that works is all about
    There should be no protection for them

  2. The hemp rope and beheading. In other words, cow bells or soccer ball! Anything less is sham. I suppose we could do both, however, for logistical purposes, we’d have to hang ’em first.

  3. It appears that the sheriff needed 30+ of her detail surrounding her at the press conference. I am guessing she smells something in the air.

    1. She smells what they are shoveling and what they are purposely creating
      All from orders from above

      Clean up DC and these pukes would have zero power , and clean up should be easy

  4. “He was serving a five-day sentence on a petty theft charge.”

    This is how little these murderers value a human life.

    They’ll receive the same consideration, IN SPADES, once the SHTF!!!!!

  5. Find out where these cops live and post it online for millions to view! It’s easy to follow one home, as their stupidity and arrogance make this an easy task!

  6. Cops are stupid enough to believe that beating down someone who’s outnumbered makes them tough. Generally speaking, they avoid any physical conflict unless the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor by dint of numerical superiority, steroid use and/or physical size, weaponry, or — not to be neglected — the huge psychological edge that comes from knowing that the government is backing you up legally. These are the advantages that chickenshit cops hide behind as they act like swaggering, loud-mouthed dickheads and congratulate themselves on how “no one f#@ks with ME!”

    It’s one thing to use multiple people to gain control of an individual who’s getting violent or crazy. But there is no need to use anything close to lethal force on an unarmed person when you have him outnumbered. And no one who acts as part of a group to subdue an individual should ever believe that it makes him more of a man. Only conflict with equal or stronger opponents can do that.

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