A San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with using excessive force on inmates, including slamming one inmate’s head into a closed elevator door, a prosecutor said today (Feb. 15).
Blake Lycett, 42, beat three inmates in August 2018, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. The alleged assaults were all caught on the Maguire Correctional Facility’s surveillance cameras.
The first two incidents happened while inmates were being booked into the jail on Aug. 18, 2018.
Inmate Luis Cardenas was arrested for being drunk in public, and was not cooperating with deputies’ commands as they were trying to book him into jail. So Lycett jumped on top of him and punched him in the back and in the back of the head, Wagstaffe said.
The same day, Milan Jackson was being booked into jail for allegedly trespassing on Caltrain property and he was not cooperating with deputies. Lycett struck him multiple times, Wagstaffe said.
On Aug. 22, inmate Zephaniah Coon was refusing to go back into his cell. Deputies got Coon on the ground and Lycett kneed him multiple times in the torso before pushing his head into a closed elevator door, according to Wagstaffe.
Deputies and prosecutors spent months investigating the case, Wagstaffe said.
“The debate will be whether this truly is excessive force,” Wagstaffe said in an interview Friday (Feb. 15). “Experts tell us it was not appropriate.”
Wagstaffe also said that Lycett’s use of force reports, written up after the incidents, are not accurate.
“The use of force reports … were not consistent with the video and our interviews with other officers,” Wagstaffe said.
Lycett was charged with the three crimes, all misdemeanors, on Wednesday (Feb. 13). He was arraigned Friday (Feb. 15) morning and appeared through his attorney, Gregory Thoming, who asked for a continuance to review more records in the case, according to Wagstaffe.
Lycett is free on his own recognizance until his next hearing on March 15. Thoming could not be reached for comment Friday.
Lycett was put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case and an internal investigation, according to San Mateo County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Detective Rosemerry Blankswade.
He has been working for the sheriff’s office for six years.
“This is not conduct we condone or believe represents the dedicated personnel here at the Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said in a news release. “We take these allegations very seriously and want to thank everyone who came forward.”
— Bay City News