Lawsuit Accuses Sonoma County Jail Guards of Systematic Beatings

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed Monday accuses Sonoma County correctional deputies of continually beating 20 inmates over a period of more than five hours. The lawsuit was filed by former jail inmates Marquis Martinez, 28, and David Banks, 23, and concerns beatings that allegedly took place on May 28 at the Sonoma County Jail.

According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, videotape of the alleged assault exists but has not been handed over by the Sheriff’s Department. The two men are now seeking unspecified damages from the county and Sheriff Steve Freitas, and calling for the appointment of a special monitor to oversee use-of-force incidents and report back to the court for a period of three years.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department has vehemently denied the claims, calling them outrageous and inflammatory.

“The correctional deputies were responding to the actions of a seemingly coordinated mass disturbance by inmates housed in administrative segregation,” Sgt. Cecile Focha said of the incident.

Read more about the lawsuit here.