McMahon also insists inmates get ‘excellent’ medical care
May 20, 2014 6:15 PM

RANCHO CUCAMONGA • Amid allegations of deputy misconduct toward inmates at the West Valley Detention Center, Sheriff John McMahon on Tuesday said “there’s no evidence” leading him to believe that recent reports of violence were anything more than an “isolated group of deputies.”

McMahon also said the jail prides itself on “excellent” inmate medical care, so much so that medical costs for inmates are “through the roof.”

A complaint filed on May 7 alleges six inmates suffered “extreme physical and emotional injury” by deputies, including having their handcuffed arms extended behind them and having shotguns pointed at their heads “for no reason.”

The lawsuit sparked an internal investigation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department that McMahon said is still ongoing and will continue for as long as it takes to make sure it is done “thoroughly, correctly and safely.” Three deputies have been fired.

“There’s an investigation going on both administratively and criminally in regards to conduct that was occurring … and that investigation will determine whether or not (inappropriate) activity was occurring,” McMahon said.

McMahon made the comments while taking journalists on a tour of West Valley on Tuesday.

West Valley Health Services Administrator Terry Fillman said it is the responsibility of the center to “provide excellent health service.” West Valley is equipped with a four-chair dialysis center, X-ray machine, dentist office for regular cleanings as well as oral surgery, and specialized units for those with mental-health disorders.

Fillman said the care provided within the center is better than can be found outside. He told a story of an inmate who had cancer and was being treated while in custody. The inmate was released with a continuing treatment plan, but soon admitted to committing petty theft because the treatment at the center was better than he received outside.

“We hope this is not the majority,” said Fillman.

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