AUBURN (CBS13) – Three members of the Placer Sheriff’s Office have been arrested after an investigation into alleged excessive force at the county jail.
Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell announced the arrests of Deputy Robert Madden and Correctional Officer Jeffrey Villanueva for multiple counts of assaults and filing a false report. Correctional Sgt. Megan Yaws also charged with filing a false report.
According to the Placer County District Attorney, the alleged abuse began last September and continued over the past two weeks.
Four Placer County inmates are now being called victims themselves.
“Some were holding me while they were hitting me in the back of the head,” said Beau Bangert, who said he was attacked two weeks ago.
During a jailhouse interview, he said was beat by an officer for not following a command to open a door, then jumped, and tasered while in a special unit on suicide watch.
“I guess they then put me in a sleeper hold,” he said.
The news came as a shock to his mother and family attorney who said Bangert is in on petty misdemeanor charges.
“It is pretty reprehensible if it is what we think it might be,” said Jeffrey Guyton, a family attorney.
“It’s just heartbreaking because he doesn’t deserve, he’s not a mean person. He’s just not a mean person,” Beau’s mother Linda Hartman said.
The investigation was sparked after a supervisor was reviewing video footage at the jail. Management reviewed the video and other incidents and deemed the actions of the officers unreasonable.
After a joint investigation with the district attorney’s office, the three were arrested.
“Please hear me when I tell you, under no circumstances will unethical or illegal conduct be tolerated under my watch. The culture of our organization is founded upon public trust,” said Sheriff Bell in a statement about the arrests.
Deputy Madden is facing four counts related to excessive force and three counts of falsifying an incident report.
Correctional Officer Villanueva is facing one count related to excessive force and a count of falsifying a report.
Investigators later added two additional charges of assault under the color of authority. Sgt. Yaws is facing one count of falsifying a report.
The three officers have been placed on administrative leave.
The DA recommended the video not be released.
Meanwhile, the sheriff said they will be going through hours of footage to hold the accused accountable and to make sure every employee is walking a straight line.