Three Deputies Placed on Leave Over Hot Water Attack on Inmate

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Three Orange County sheriff's deputies, including one who allegedly dumped hot water on an inmate's arm, are on administrative leave as they await word on whether any charges will be filed by prosecutors, who were presented today with the results of the department's investigation.

The alleged attack happened on April 1 in the mental health-housing module at the Intake Release Center in Santa Ana, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The inmate was asked to sign a disciplinary notice, but refused when it was passed through a cell door hatch, Braun said. The inmate instead stuck his hands through the cell door hatch and refused to bring them back inside the cell, she said.

A short time later, the deputy returned with two other deputies to get the inmate to pull his hands back in so they could secure the hatch, Braun said. When the inmate continued to refuse, one of the deputies dumped hot water on the inmate's arm, Braun alleged.

The inmate told another deputy during a security check later about the hot water attack and was treated by doctors for visible injuries, she said.

On April 2, the three deputies were placed on administrative leave and an internal probe began, Braun said.

“I am absolutely intolerant of this behavior,'' Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said. “Deputies working in the Orange County Jail are responsible for providing care and safety for the inmates in our custody, not causing harm or injury.

“Unfortunately, the actions of one can reflect on the many, but I want to make it clear that this is not indicative of the conduct of deputies inside the Orange County Jail,'' he said. “I have reiterated to our personnel that anything that even resembles this type of inexcusable behavior will not be allowed, and that anyone who goes beyond their training and department policy will be held fully accountable. We have completed a criminal investigation and submitted it to the District Attorney's Office for a prosecutorial decision. It is my expectation that the District Attorney will review this case in a timely manner to determine if charges are warranted.''

The names of the deputies were not released.

Photo: Getty Images

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