At a news conference today, Public Defender Jeff Adachi alleged that San Francisco sheriff's deputies have been forcing county jail inmates to fight one another while the deputies gamble on the outcomes of the gladiatorial-style matches.

The Chronicle reports that revelations of the illegal behavior were going to wait until the informing inmates were out of jail, but according to Adachi, another fight was planned for next week and they chose to act now.

According to the Examiner, four deputies at one SoMa jail have been threatening violence to inmates if they refuse to fight each other. Three inmates represented by the public defender’s office spoke up, saying that they were scared for their lives and threatened with handcuffs, pepper spray, and beatings for non-participation.

One deputy reportedly selected an overweight inmate to be his "prize fighter," forcing him to work out in front of his fellows who would be punished if he didn't complete tasks.

According to Adachi, the ringleader was Deputy Scott Neu, accused in 2006 of forcing inmates to engage in sexual acts with him in a case settled out of court. The Public Defender’s Office hired a private investigator to corroborate the claims.

Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, an inmate and witness, told the Examiner he was forced to fight another inmate, Stanley Harris. Of Neu, Garcia said that "I feel like he gets a kick out of it because I just see the look on his face and, you know, it looks like it brings him joy by doing this."

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