Placer County Agrees to Six-Figure Settlement With Former Jail Inmate
Placer County has agreed to pay $100,000 to a man who says he was harassed and beaten by guards while interned at the Auburn jail last year. This is just the beginning for Placer County, which is facing multiple lawsuits and civil rights investigations stemming from alleged abuse by jail officials.
In approving the settlement, the county admitted no wrongdoing.
“The decision to resolve Mr. Conner’s claim is a step forward in an overall strategy to address allegations of improper activity by certain officers at the Auburn Jail,” explained Brett Holt, supervising deputy county counsel. “The settlement with Mr. Conner for $100,000 is a litigation decision approved by the Board of Supervisors and based on the legal advice of counsel.
“The settlement with Mr. Conner should not be interpreted as a statement as to the legitimacy of his claim. The decision is based on several factors, including the time and cost to fully litigate Mr. Conner’s claim.”
Derek Conner says he was sitting in his cell on Sept. 4 when Officer Jeffrey Villanueva came in to perform a search. He claims Villanueva forcefully grabbed his penis and testicles and ‘lingered’ around the area. Conner also says he was beaten up by deputies that night.
Villanueva and two other correctional officers were arrested in May, accused of excessive force and falsifying evidence. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
The settlement comes as an attorney for another ex-inmate seeks class action status to file suit on behalf of hundreds of people who say they were mistreated at the jail. In a separate case, a man claims he was harassed and beaten by a deputy because of his religion.
Read more about the settlement and the other pending lawsuits at the Sacramento Bee.