Former inmate files lawsuit, claims he was beaten by Santa Clara Co. deputies

A former inmate at the Santa Clara County Main Jail is suing the county and two correctional deputies claiming those deputies brutally beat him up back in July. 50-year-old Ruben Garcia said he's suing now after he witnessed the beating death of inmate Michael Tyree and regrets not speaking up.

Garcia and Tyree were neighbors housed on the sixth floor of this jail. These are two different guards, not the same deputies in Tyree's case.

Garcia said he suffers permanent nerve damage to the right side of his face. His jaw was broken after the former gang member claims he had one of the worst beatings of his life. He said it was at the hands of two Santa Clara County correctional deputies.

"They're beating people up like it's the thing to do in there," said Garcia. "They are a different generation, a different breed of officers in there."

In Garcia's complaint, he alleged the beating happened on July 23. He was in the Main Jail for a misdemeanor drug offense. He complained about waiting to move to his cell. He said the deputies repeatedly punched, kicked and slammed him against the wall. The next day, he said, one of the deputies apologized.

"I responded. 'Look what you did to me'," said Garcia. "'Look at my face'. He responded, 'It is what it is. Welcome to my dorm.'"

Garcia didn't report it right away for fear of retaliation. However, a month later he said he heard his neighbor Michael Tyree's screams for help.

"I can hear the blows," said Garcia. "I can hear Michael screaming. Please stop hurting me. Pease stop hurting me please."

Three different deputies are now accused of Tyree's murder.

In a statement, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said "An investigation was initiated into Mr. Garcia's allegations and that investigation is active and ongoing. The Sheriff's Office will make a determination as to the appropriate course of action. So as to not jeopardize the investigation, I am unable to provide any additional information at this time."

What complicates the case is Garcia got in a fist fight with another inmate after his alleged encounter with the guards. He's adamant his injuries are from the two deputies.