Lawsuit: Alameda County Deputies Targeted Inmate, Sprayed Him With Urine and Feces for Months

From left: Erik McDermott, 27; Stephen Sarcos, 30; Sarah Krause, 26; and Justin Linn, 23. (Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

From left: Erik McDermott, 27; Stephen Sarcos, 30; Sarah Krause, 26; and Justin Linn, 23. (Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

What began as a visit to a psychiatric center for a prescription refill ended as a nightmare for one inmate at the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, a lawsuit says.

Four deputies targeted Fernando Miguel Soria and conspired with another inmate to spray him with feces and urine — a practice known as “gassing” — over the course of three months, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

“This was despicable, horrendous conduct, and these officers violated his constitutional right to be free from excessive force,” said Soria’s attorney, John Burris. He added that the deputies “engaged in conspiracy to violate his civil rights.”

The suit outlines disturbing actions it attributes to the four deputies, who were charged last year by the Alameda County district attorney’s office following an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, said sheriff’s spokesman Ray Kelly. The deputies — Justin Linn, Erik McDermott, Stephen Sarcos and Sarah Krause — were charged with assault under the color of authority.

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