We understand that prisoners are incarcerated because they've committed a crime, but the point of prison is to restrict their freedom in accordance with their sentence by a court. Our constitution also protects our citizens from "cruel and unusual punishment".
With this in mind, deputies Richard Ochoa-Garcia and Ryan Hirsch must have-hopefully, at least-blushed when they found out that American Civil Liberties Union jail monitor Esther Lim managed to witness them beating an inmate for two full minutes while he lay immobile.
Think about how long two minutes is; how many punches or kicks do you think you could get in during two minutes? Especially if the intended recipient is lying motionless on the ground? Quite a few, is an easy estimate.
This case prompted a federal civil rights investigation into the deputies' alleged misconduct, especially since the inmate was accused of assaulting the officers. Yes, you read that right: James Parker, the inmate described above, was accused of assaulting the deputies, not the other way around. Without the testimony of Esther Lim, Parker probably would have been convicted. The prosecution's case relied heavily on the testimony of the deputies, and Lim's witness account certainly told a different story.
Although the attorney for ACLU monitor Esther Lim felt sad that the fact that the verdict of mistrial "shows the average citizen thought Lim's testimony was right on and very credible and the deputies' testimony was not," we actually have some of our faith restored in humanity in this case.
Lim reported that the deputies repeated "stop fighting" even though Parker was motionless on the floor. She described Parker lying there "like a mannequin", and believed that Ochoa-Garcia and Hirsch did knot realize she was there. Yet the deputies reported a different scene; on the witness stand, they described Parker as the aggressor, who continued to swing his elbows and try to stand even after they got him on the ground. They have denied any wrongdoing.
After Lim went public with her allegations, the FBI launched an investigation into the alleged beating. Yet the Los Angeles County district attorney's office did not drop the charges against Parker.
Since the jury was unable to reach a verdict on Wednesday, a mistrial was called. An interesting fact: A majority of the jurors voted to acquit Parker on three counts of battery and resisting arrest. And this hung jury is a blow to the Sheriff's Department as it faces scrutiny by the FBI on not just this case, but other alleged inmate abuse and deputy misconduct in its prisons.
Have you been the victim of police brutality, inside or outside of prison? Have your civil rights been violated by the authorities, or anyone else? Have you been accused of a crime you didn't commit? Please call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim immediately on 866-416-2161, or use our online form for a Free Case Analysis. We believe in equal access to justice for all.
- See more at: http://glewkimlaw.com/blog/2011/09/30/mistrial-for-los-angeles-deputies-beating-inmate/#sthash.guv0KcPA.dpuf