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Placer County Settles With Former Inmate Claiming Jail Guards Assaulted Him

Martin Fisch / Flickr

Martin Fisch / Flickr

A former Placer County Jail inmate who alleged that correctional officers beat him and grabbed his genitals has reached a settlement with the county for $100,000.

The settlement comes after three correctional officers from the jail  in Auburn were arrested in May on charges of assaulting inmates and falsifying reports. At a May press conference, Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell said he was made aware of "compelling" jail surveillence video footage of guards assaulting inmates.

Former inmate Derek Conner claims he was beaten and fondled in September 2015 by correctional officers, including one of the three officers that was arrested in May. Placer County settled with Conner on Nov. 17, but denies his allegations.

Conner's lawyer Patrick Dwyer says the county is trying to hide a pattern of mistreating inmates. "I believe they are trying to protect, in part, the officials in the sheriff's department or the district attorney's office that don't want to deal with what appears to me to be a more serious and endemic problem," Dwyer said.

But Placer County Supervising Deputy Counsel Brett Holt says there is no evidence in the case other than Conner's word. He says the county decided to settle to save time and money. A jury would have a hard time remaining impartial because one of the correctional officers is currently involved a criminal case, Holt added.

The county is facing four other suits involving alleged abuse of inmates by correctional officers. 

Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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