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Santa Clara County Jail Deputies Charged With Beating Inmate

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Two Santa Clara County correctional deputies have been charged with assault in the alleged beating of a shackled inmate at the jail last year, prosecutors announced Monday.

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, 27-year-old Phillip Abecendario and 31-year-old Tuan Le have each been charged with one count of assault by an officer.

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"We can't have jail guards administering their own form of punishment to inmates who are waiting for their trials or serving their sentences," Prosecutor John Chase said.

Authorities said Abecendario and Le would be arraigned at a later date. If convicted, they each could be sentenced up to a maximum of three years in jail.

On July 23, 2015, after inmates were locked in their cells for the night, the deputies are charged with assaulting a 49-year-old inmate who had just arrived that evening to be housed.

Prosecutors said the assault took place in an interview room where the inmate was initially held.

The deputies allegedly dragged the inmate -- chained and half-naked -- to his cell where they assaulted him again. During these assaults, prosecutors said, the deputies threw him against the wall and floor, jumped on him, punched him, and kicked him.

Subsequent investigation revealed that at least two dozen inmates saw at least some portion of this incident.

The deputies filed no reports documenting or explaining their use of force. They have been on administrative leave since February.

It's not the first time that jailhouse deputies have run into legal issues at the Santa Clara County Jail.

The three other guards allegedly beat to death a mentally ill inmate -- Michael Tyree -- last year. The three deputies -- Jereh Lubrin, Rafael Rodriguez and Matthew Farris -- have pleaded not guilty to murder and assault charges and are awaiting trial.

If convicted, the three could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

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