The Alameda County District Attorney's Office announced Friday that it had filed felony charges against two sheriff's deputies for allegedly falsifying records in connection to a jail suicide. It also separately filed charges against a correctional officer for allegedly performing sex acts on a minor.
The charges were brought forward by a new unit called the Public Accountability Unit, created by the new D.A. Pamela Price, who was elected in 2022. The unit aims to hold law enforcement and public officials accountable for misconduct. It was tasked with reviewing eight officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths from its inception at the beginning of this year, according to authorities.
Now, Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Sheri Baughman, 49, and Deputy Amanda Bracamontes, 30, face charges in connection to the 2021 suicide of Vinetta Martin at the Santa Rita Jail, as the Chronicle reported. Martin was arrested for assault in July 2020, but had been awaiting a psych evaluation to determine if she was competent to stand trial for nearly a year before she told staff she intended to commit suicide. Standard procedure requires that officials conduct direct visual observation checks every 30 minutes — but these were reportedly never completed. Martin was found dead by suicide in her cell about three weeks later.
Prosecutors are alleging that Baughman and Bracamontes doctored the jail’s logbooks to make it seem like they followed procedure, as video evidence reportedly shows that they repeatedly failed to check on Martin for extended periods of time, such as for nearly two hours.
The other charges have been brought against a juvenile institutional officer with the Alameda County Probation Department. The D.A.’s office is alleging that 50-year-old Nicole Perales had oral sex with a 15-year-old who was in custody at the Alameda Juvenile Justice Center between 2004 and 2005, as KTVU reported. She also faces charges of willfully and unlawfully performing a lewd and lascivious act on the same child — which altogether could mean up to three years and eight months behind bars, according to KTVU.
Feature image via Jesstess87/Wikimedia Commons.