Federal Lawsuit Alleges Santa Ana Employees Left 2 Detainees in Hot Van for Hours

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The Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana is shown in an undated photo. (Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

The Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana is shown in an undated photo. (Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

A federal lawsuit filed this week alleges that two Santa Ana employees left two federal detainees locked and chained inside a hot van for four hours after returning the pair from their court hearings.

On April 8, Dongyuan Li, a 41-year-old Chinese citizen, and Romaldo Marchan Delgado, a 56-year-old Mexican citizen, were put in handcuffs, ankle shackles and waist chains, and placed in the back of the transport van after their hearings at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse for a return trip to the Santa Ana jail, where they were being housed.

Because of the proximity of the federal courthouse to the city jail, the U.S. Marshals Service — which is responsible for housing federal pretrial detainees and certain other federal inmates — contracts with the city of Santa Ana to hold some detainees and inmates at the city’s jail, according to the lawsuit.

After Caroline Contreras, a correctional officer at the jail, parked the van and turned off the engine, she and Officer Ricky Prieto of the Santa Ana Police Department went inside the jail “without a backward glance,” leaving Li and Marchan Delgado inside, the lawsuit reads. The van was left in direct sunlight with the windows rolled up, according to the lawsuit.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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