SAN FRANCISCO—On Thursday, March 26 San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced the findings of an investigation that claims that San Francisco County Jail inmates had been forced to fight for the viewing pleasure of their prison guards.
Adachi claims that the inmates were placed in “Gladiator-style” bouts, contests the guards placed wagers on.
He claims the illicit operation was so coordinated that inmates received training from the officers prior to the fights. According to inmate testimony, the men would be threatened with punishment, both physical and otherwise, if they refused to fight.
The winners of the contests, reportedly beginning on March 3, were offered better treatment and hamburgers as reward for their efforts.
According to the investigation, the officer who spearheaded this real-life fight club was Deputy Scott Neu, a man who was accused in 2006 of sexually tormenting inmates in the county jail.
During the ongoing investigation, the four officers believed to be involved in the operation have been transferred to different units in which they will have no inmate contact.
The investigation was launched after an email was sent to the Public Defender’s office from the father of an inmate who had been told his son was being forced to fight. The email prompted the investigation conducted by private investigator Barry Simon, who reported his disturbing findings to Adachi on Tuesday.
Specifics regarding the punishment of the officers involved if found guilty have yet to be disclosed.