Newly released video from the Auburn Main Jail in California shows jailers smashing mentally ill inmate Beau Bangert into a wall, punching him and shocking him with a stun gun.
The video was released on Thursday, March 28 after federal judge in Sacramento approved a $1.4 million class action settlement in the case.
Bangert received $250,000 as part of the settlement.
Footage shows a cell extraction on May 14, 2017, involving Bangert who suffers from schizophrenia, as four Pacer sheriff deputies rush into a small suicide-watch cell.
Bangert is smashed into a wall by an officer with a plastic body shield, then punched and tased before he’s eventually removed from the cell.
“Get on the ground!” one of the officers yells at Bangert as he is being manhandled and punched.
“We’re going to put you to sleep,” another officer says before six other jailers rush the cell to help with restraining Bangert.
“One was holding me and then one tased me, and they put me in their sleeper stronghold, whatever it’s called,” Bangert said in May.
Bangert is eventually wheeled back into the cell in a “safety chair” with a spit mask over his head.
As jailers remove the mask, Bangert appears limp staring face up from the chair with his face covered in his own blood.
Two deputies and one jail official were fired and also faced charged for falsifying police reports, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark Merin said the video shows an “obviously mentally ill man acting out in an irrational way” who deputies victimized and “decided to end it in a very forceful, over-the-top-way, inflicting serious injuries to Mr. Bangert.”
“They demonstrated total insensitivity and it was clearly an abusive gang attack on a defenseless individual,” Merin said.
“And it showed absence of training and malevolence on the part of the deputies who participated.”
Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell said on Thursday jail staff uncovered evidence of problems at the jail and began an immediate investigation.
“Our staff brought this forward,” he said.
“And when we saw the video, we had the same sense that many in the public did. That’s why we contacted the district attorney. It was disturbing to us, too.”
As legal proceedings were still pending, Placer County officials attempted to keep the video and other evidence from going public saying it “would result in particularized harm to the county and its employees.”
“A very real possibility exists [the videos] could go viral, destroying the possibility of a fair jury trial [in other cases],” attorneys for Placer County argued.
A judge pointed out that the three criminal cases involving the fired jail workers had been resolved and that there are “no ongoing civil cases whose jury pools might be tainted” before agreeing to allow the release of the video and other evidence.
Bangert’s attorney pointed out positive changes that resulted as part of the lawsuit.
“One of the provisions of this settlement is that there’s a change so that people who are exposed to what they believe is excessive force in the facilities in Placer County will be able to make that clear on grievance forms,” Merin said.
“We are auditing all of the grievance forms and all the investigations that go on as a result, and we’re able to select individual cases for scrutiny to make sure that they are in fact changing their procedures and properly responding to those kinds of grievances. Hopefully, proper response will lead to discipline of officers involved in excessive-force instances and a real change in how the jail’s operated.”
Three Placer County jailers were charged in connection with the beating and all three were fired.
Two of the officers pleaded no contest to charges of felony assault.
Charges were dropped against one of the officers.