Santa Clara County deputies arrested for allegedly assaulting inmate

 

SAN JOSE (KRON/BCN) — Two Santa Clara County correctional deputies have been arrested for allegedly assaulting an inmate last year at the Main Jail in San Jose, sheriff’s officials and prosecutors said Monday.

Deputies Phillip Abecendario and Tuan Le have been arrested on suspicion of assault under the color of authority, Sheriff Laurie Smith said in a statement.

The allegation has been taken “very seriously by this office and was vigorously investigated to determine the facts,” Smith said.

Abecendario, 27, and Le, 31, are each charged with felony assault by an officer, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

The men are accused of assaulting a 49-year-old inmate who was transported to the county correctional facility on July 23 after cells were locked for the night, prosecutors said.

The deputies allegedly attacked the inmate in an interview room where he was first held, then pulled him to a cell while he was chained and half-naked, according to prosecutors.

The two jail guards allegedly kicked, punched and jumped on the inmate. They’re also accused of throwing him to the wall and floor, prosecutors said.

A follow-up investigation indicated about 24 other inmates saw the alleged assault, according to prosecutors.

The deputies, who have been on administrative leave since February, didn’t file any records on why they allegedly used force, prosecutors said.

“We can’t have jail guards administering their own form of punishment to inmates who are waiting for their trials or serving their sentences,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney John Chase said in a statement.

Both men face a maximum sentence of three years in jail if convicted, prosecutors said.

“These alleged actions run contrary to any training they’ve received, any supervision they’ve been under and is not indicative of the exemplary work performed by the overwhelming majority of correctional deputies,” Smith said.

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