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California Prisoner Assaulted By Deputies Awarded $135,000

On February 21, 2002, a federal jury awarded $135,000 to a prisoner who was
subjected to excessive use of force by San Bernardino County, California,
deputies in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

While a prisoner in San Bernardino's West Valley Detention Center in Rancho
Cucamonga, plaintiff Jasper Wilson claimed he was assaulted by nine deputy
sheriffs. Wilson was standing in line with a group of prisoners waiting to
be loaded onto a bus for a court hearing when deputy Gaitano Lobue told him
to stop talking. When Wilson stared at, or "mad dogged" the deputy, he was
grabbed by the shirt and slammed against a wall. As Wilson continued
arguing, Lobue allegedly slapped him and spit on him. Other deputies then
came to assist Lobue and reportedly pummeled Wilson. At the time, Wilson
was in leg chains and handcuffs that were tethered to his waist.

Wilson sued the county and deputies under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging battery
and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He sought non-economic
and punitive damages.

At trial Wilson presented video evidence of the incident and pictures of
his injuries, which included a cut on his lip that required stitches,
multiple bruises and contusions on his face and head, and a swollen right
eye. The defendants contended they acted reasonably to subdue a violent

After deliberating 4 hours, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the
Central District of California awarded Wilson a total of $135,000. The
award consisted of $100,000 in general damages against deputies Lobue,
Michael Tierney, and Thomas Jolla; $25,000 in punitive damages against
Jolin; and $10,000 in punitive damages against Tierney.
Wilson's attorney, Patricia Ann Campi of Monterey Park, California, said
that the deputies will be indemnified by the county. See: Wilson v. County
of San Bernardino, USDC CD CA, Case No. EDCV 00 928 SGL.

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Related legal case

Wilson v. County of San Bernardino