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71-Year-Old Veteran Paid $185,000 for Rough California Jail Booking Treatment

An elderly veteran, while being booked into the Santa Clara County, California jail in December 2005 for failure to appear at a civil trial, struggled with deputies during the fingerprinting process and was subdued with violent force. He claimed he suffered a fractured eye socket, broken nose, impaired vision, acute shoulder pain and severe emotional distress from the drubbing he took.

Titus Rucker, 71, was being fingerprinted when he reacted strongly to having his finger painfully twisted. Deputies accused him of assaulting an officer, and piled on to take the aging veteran to the ground. Rucker said he was subsequently beaten while restrained, face down and handcuffed. He also claimed that during his three days at the jail, deputies did not give him his medications; they instead spilled them on the floor.

The deputies countered by denying that any of Rucker’s facial injuries were the result of his jail stay, adding that any injuries he may have suffered were the direct result of his resistance during the booking process. That “resistance” was captured by a jail security camera and later posted on YouTube, a popular video sharing website, where it was viewed over 11,000 times.

Rucker was charged with criminal battery on a peace officer after jail officials alleged that one deputy was punched in the face while another suffered a knee injury. At trial the jury hung 6-6 and the charges were dismissed. Rucker’s federal civil rights suit proceeded, ultimately resulting in a $185,000 settlement on July 2, 2007. He was represented by Oakland attorney John Burris. See: Rucker v. County of Santa Clara, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal.), Case No. 5:2006-CV-01223.

Other sources: San Jose Mercury News

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Related legal case

Rucker v. County of Santa Clara