Judge throws out San Francisco jail 'fight club' case for questionable investigation
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A San Francisco judge Friday threw out the case against a trio of sheriff's deputies accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator style bouts.
A San Francisco judge formally dismissed the case against three deputies accused of holding fight club style bouts between inmates in the jail at 850 Bryant Street.
The case came to light in in 2015 since then has been under investigation. The problems arose when it came to light that the deputies were compelled to cooperate with the internal administrative investigation and then that privileged information was then used in the criminal investigation..
Add to that allegations that investigators destroyed a laptop containing potentially critical information.
The district attorney's office said they had little choice but to ask that the case be dismissed so they could launch an entirely new investigation. "I think this exemplifies what we've been saying all along. That organizations shouldn't investigate themselves. This is exactly why we've been pushing for years to form an independent investigations unit. That's the entity now that will be looking at this case," said Alex Bastian from the San Francisco District Attorney's office.
Attorneys for the accused deputies were asking the judge to dismiss the case with prejudice so prosecutors wouldn't get another chance to try the case the judge stopped short of taking that step. But, agreed the investigation by the sheriff's office was deeply flawed from the outset.
"We wanted him to go a little further. But, based on what was squarely in front of him he made a fair ruling. But, he also made it abundantly clear if they try to go through this again they're going to have a real tough road to hoe," said Harry Stern, attorney for one of the accused.
The district attorney's office says it will now have to use a special unit within their office to investigate the remaining evidence to see if there is enough charge the deputies again and proceed to trial.