This is the kind of incident that happens all the time, especially in impoverished communities where people don't have the power to fight back. The difference is that this time, the survivor of the brutality had the guts and the support to file a claim, which was investigated and is now resulting in charges against two deputies, one for the brutality, the other for "false impersonation of an officer." (She claimed to be a different officer.)
My suspicion is that Deputy Shadia Adham misidentified herself because she didn't want to be associated with this asshole Parham, who kicked Mario Madrigal on the ribs while he was drunk and handcuffed on the ground. He then kicked him in the groin and smashed his head into the dirt with his foot, laughing about it the whole time.
There are a few strange things about this case. For one, we have fellow deputies cooperating with the criminal investigation, apparently breaking the "blue code of silence." Another is that when Adham, the first person on the scene, was unable to confine Madrigal, she got help from the neighbor's son, who had called the sheriff to complain about her neighbor. I'm not sure, but usually officers do not involve civilians in their take-downs of "suspects."
These deputies are being arraigned on October 15. CopWatch IE field trip anyone?
Those of you that watch this stuff may recognize Parham's name from another incident nine years ago, when he was shot by a man he attempted to detain in a traffic stop. The man, Ricardo Alfonso Cerna, an immigrant from Guatemala, subsequently committed suicide in the interrogation room. Here are two articles from the SB Sun about the incident and the scandalous and oppressive behavior of these deputies:
San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies accused of assault and false impersonation
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 08/15/2012 07:06:21 PM PDT
Two San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies have been charged with misdemeanors after one allegedly assaulted a man and the other falsely impersonated another deputy, according to the criminal complaint.
Deputy Michael Parham, 40, of Rancho Cucamonga, is charged with one count of assault under the color of authority for the May 20 beating of Mario Madrigal. Deputy Shadia Adham, 33, of Yucaipa, is charged with impersonating another female sheriff's deputy, identified in the complaint only as "L. Mitchell," at the time of the alleged crime.
Officials at the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Office would not divulge any specifics on the incident, including where it occurred and why.
Parham is on paid administrative leave while the criminal charges are pending, but Adham remains on active patrol duty, sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.
Both deputies work out of the sheriff's central station in San Bernardino, and the department is conducting an administrative investigation, Miller said.
District Attorney spokesman Christopher Lee said prosecutors, per office policy, do not discuss pending criminal cases with the news media.
Both deputies are scheduled for an arraignment in San Bernardino Superior Court on Oct. 15, court records show.
Parham made news in 2003 when he was critically wounded after being shot while on duty, and the man suspected of shooting him, Ricardo Alfonso Cerna, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head while sitting in an interview room at the Sheriff's Department.
Cerna's suicide, caught on video by a sheriff's security camera, was burned onto a DVD and circulated at a training seminar, which touched on the detaining of criminal suspects. The video wound up going viral on the Internet, resulting in disciplinary action being taken against multiple sworn personnel at the department.
Parham spent a week at Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he recovered from his wounds.
Reach Joe via email, call him at 909-386-3874, or find him on Twitter @SBCountyNow.
San Bernardino County sheriff's reports detail assault allegations involving deputy
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 08/17/2012 06:23:22 PM PDT
A San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy repeatedly kicked a handcuffed man in the chest and groin, stepped on his head and laughed and joked about it while doing so, according to sheriff's reports.
Deputy Michael Parham, 40, of Rancho Cucamonga was one of four deputies who responded to a report of vandalism at a home in the 4000 block of North F Street in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino shortly after 1a.m. May 20.
The events that played out during that call resulted in an extensive internal affairs investigation by the Sheriff's Department, detailed in 315 pages of reports submitted to county prosecutors by a team of five investigators.
Prosecutors charged Parham on Monday with one misdemeanor count of assault under the color of authority. They also charged Deputy Shadia Adham, the first deputy to respond to the vandalism call, with one misdemeanor count of false impersonation of an officer.
Adham, 33, of Yucaipa, is accused of falsely identifying herself and another deputy who responded to the call as other deputies who worked out of the sheriff's central station in San Bernardino, namely Lauren Mitchell and Galen Spears, respectively, according to the investigative reports.
Reached by telephone Thursday, Adham said she has been ordered not to discuss the matter due to the pending criminal case and administrative investigation.
Neither Parham nor his attorney, William Hadden, could be reached for comment.
Officials at the Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's Office also declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigations.
Parham and Adham are scheduled for arraignment on Oct. 15 in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Reports from the detectives who investigated Parham and Adham showed the following:
Adham, Parham and deputies Ryan Cook and John Deen responded to the North F Street residence after a woman, Celia Escobar, reported that her neighbor, later identified as Mario Madrigal, 46, had been standing in his backyard throwing bricks at her house. One of the bricks landed on Escobar's roof and another went through her bedroom window.
Adham was the first to arrive on scene. Madrigal, who it was determined was heavily intoxicated, resisted arrest and was combative with Adham, so Escobar's teenage sons assisted her in getting Madrigal's hands behind his back and handcuffed.
Once the other three deputies arrived, they attempted to get Madrigal to stand up and walk to the front of his house to await an ambulance, but Madrigal refused to get up from the ground.
Parham nudged Madrigal with his foot, telling him to get up. When Madrigal continued to resist, the nudges reportedly escalated to hard kicks to the ribs.
Deputy Cook told investigators that Parham then placed his foot atop Madrigal's head, just above the ear, and rocked his body weight forward onto his foot, pushing Madrigal's face into the dirt. About 30 seconds later, Cook said, Parham kicked Madrigal hard in the chest, and Cook said he could hear Madrigal's "breath get knocked out of him."
Cook also told investigators he heard Madrigal yell `Ow!' after being kicked, followed by Parham laughing and saying, `Oooh, that had to hurt,' and `You're gonna (expletive) hurt in the morning.'
As Madrigal lay writhing on the ground he yelled, `I got all your names,' to which Adham replied, `My name is Mitchell. This is Spears,' Cook told the investigating detectives.
Deen corroborated Cook's statements during his interviews with detectives, but added another detail. He said that as the four deputies were carrying Madrigal to the front of the house, they had set him down to get a better grip on him. As Madrigal lay on his stomach, Parham placed his foot between Madrigal's legs and kicked him in the groin, he said.
Celia Escobar corroborated Deen's statement that Parham kicked Madrigal in the groin, and also told investigators she heard Madrigal screaming, "Help me! Help me!"
As to Adham referring to herself as "Mitchell" and another deputy as "Spears," Deen told investigators she may have been referring to deputies Lauren Mitchell and Galen Spears, both of whom work out of the central station.
About a month after the incident, Cook told his former sergeant, Jason Radeleff, that the incident had been bothering him. He had recently transferred to the central station from Joshua Tree and asked Radeleff if the kind of conduct he allegedly witnessed was to be expected at the central station. Radeleff told him that such action should not be occurring anywhere.
Radeleff subsequently told superiors of his conversation with Cook, spurring the internal affairs investigation.
Parham denied any wrongdoing, telling detectives he did not recall anything out of the ordinary about his encounter with Madrigal. He said he never kicked Madrigal or intentionally caused him any injury.