Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

California Excessive Force Case Settled for $10,000

California prison officials paid a prisoner $10,000 to settle his excessive force claims against several guards.

Keith Wayne Candler was confined in the administrative segregation unit at the Salinas Valley State Prison. On October 9, 2003, Candler was unhappy with a dinner tray so he threw it on the tier.

Candler claimed that Guards Machuca, Abuyen and Pacheco came to Candler's cell and threatened to "beat (Candler's) ass."

The next day, Abuyen, Pacheco and Machuca left Candler in the shower for an hour before escorting him back to his cell.

Abuyen then entered Candler's cell and threw his property on the tier. When Candler asked why, Abuyen told him to "shut the fuck up."

Abuyen told Machuca and Pacheco to let go of Candler's arms. He then opened Candler's left cuff on the tier, in violation of prison policy.

Candler feared for his safety so entered his cell. However, Guard Banuelos did not close Candler's cell door, in violation of prison procedures. Abuyen entered the cell and began punching Candler in the head and face, as Machuca and Pacheco looked on outside the cell.

When Candler began fighting back to fend off Abuyen's attack, Machuca and Pacheco rushed in, hitting Candler in the head and face, knocking him to the floor.

Once he was on the ground, the guards forced Candler onto his stomach. As Abuyen sat on his lower back, Machuca and Pacheco continued to punch him in the face.

They tightly re-secured Candler's left cuff and Abuyen continued to punch Candler in the head and facial area, splitting his lip open. As Abuyen got off Candler's back, he scraped his forehead against the floor, causing it to bleed.

Contrary to prison policy, Candler was improperly placed in a spit net and tight leg irons which painfully cut off Candler's circulation.

As Abuyen and three other guards carried Candler out of the cell, Abuyen pulled on the handcuffs, causing Candler to scream in pain.

Candler was then locked in an outdoor holding cell, where a seven pound ring was attached to his handcuffs and he was chained to the gate for two hours.

Guards refused to loosen Candler's handcuffs and medical staff refused to document or treat all of Candler's injuries. Candler was falsely accused of battery on a peace officer and was found guilty of the charge in a disciplinary hearing. Candler claimed that prison officials falsified reports and interfered with his ability to exhaust administrative remedies.

On December 27, 2004, Candler brought federal suit against several guards, alleging that they subjected him to excessive force. On July 3, 2008, prison officials agreed to pay Candler $10,000 to settle his claims in that case and another action. See: Candler v. Abuyen, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal.), Case No. 3:04-cv-05453-MMC.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Candler v. Abuyen