San Diego

County, Homeless Man Settle Over In-Custody Beating

A homeless man who claimed he was assaulted by deputies while in custody at a San Diego jail settled a lawsuit with the county for $130,000.

The June 2017 altercation between Joshua Strode and several deputies at the downtown central jail was caught on camera.

Strode was arrested for being drunk in public on campus at San Diego State University. An SDSU police officer took him to the jail and booked him on that one charge.

Footage shows Strode handcuffed, leaning against a wall in a jail hallway. His attorney said his client and the officer had stopped walking because Strode’s pants began to fall down.

“And really without explanation, one of the sheriff's deputies there in the sally port (hallway) entered the sally port, and within seconds of entering the sally port, grabbed Josh and threw him across the sally port -- Slammed his head and neck into the wall and then it was just a melee,” Strode’s attorney said.

At least six more deputies entered the hallway to assist in restraining Strode. Strode’s attorney says he was punched, kneed, and Tased in the scuffle before he was carried off on a gurney.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) deputies first reported that they were trying to control a potentially dangerous situation.

Strode’s attorney said incident reports from deputies involved seemed to describe an entirely different incident.

"I observed and felt strode use his right hand to assault me by grasping onto my left arm,” one deputy wrote. “I then observed strode violently bring his left knee up towards my face, striking me in the chin which caused my head to violently move backwards.”

Though he is pleased with the outcome of the settlement, Strode’s attorney is worried that the same thing could happen to someone else.

“If they’re not going to discipline these deputies, and they’re not going to take a serious look at their policy and procedure and their training to make sure that there deputies are complying and are following the law, we’re just going to be right back here and it’s going to be taxpayers again footing the bill,” he said.

NBC 7 reached out to the SDSO to find out if any of the deputies involved were disciplined. The department said those records are confidential. The deputies involved are still currently working.

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