Three Sheriff’s deputies in Northern California have just been arrested for beating a man to death in his jail cell.
The man was found dead, as a result of multiple blunt trauma, according to law enforcement sources.
A spokesman for the Santa Clara County sheriff’s department, Sgt. James Jensen said on Thursday that deputies Rafael Rodriguez, 27, Jereh Lubrin, 28, and Matthew Farris, 27 are being held in police custody without bail. There is no word on whether they will eventually be kept with the general population of the jail yet.
According to Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph O’Hara, the victim – Michael James Pipkin Tyree, 31 – was killed after sustaining multiple blunt force injuries from the three deputies, as well as “visceral lacerations” and internal bleeding.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith offered an apology on Thursday to Tyree’s family. She said “the disappointment and disgust I feel cannot be overstated.”
Smith referred to the deputies as “accused murderers,” were treated like “anyone else.” They were handcuffed, booked but were being kept in protective custody in the very same jail where they murdered Tyree.
They eventually were transferred to a facility “for their own protection” that Smith said she will not divulge due to inmate retaliation against the deputies.
What we know about the murder of Tyree is that last Thursday, he and other inmates in his jail wing had been locked down in their cells while the beating was carried out.
Tyree was found an hour later, naked and covered in feces and vomit. He was declared dead by the paramedics who responded to the scene of the murder.
Smith that by Friday the guards were stripped of their uniforms, duty and weapons, but were not arrested until several days later.
They have still not actually been fired, and are on administrative leave, Smith revealed.
Attorney Paula Canny, representing Tyree’s family, urged members of the community to think about “how we, as a system, treat mentally ill people” like Tyree.
She added that she hopes the district attorney will “bring the officers to justice.”
Tyree had been homeless and was in the process of being transferred to a mental-health facility when he was murdered by these deputies. He was locked up for a mere 5-day sentence, on a petty theft charge.
(Article by M. David and Jackson Marciana)