Defendants convicted of assault by a public officer and dissuading a witness

OAKLAND-- Today, two former Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies convicted of assaults against jail inmates that included the throwing of feces and urine, were each sentenced to four years and four months in prison.

Justin Linn and Erik McDermott agreed to plead as charged to 11 felony counts each, including 10 counts of assault by a public officer and one count dissuading a witness by threat or force for incidents that occurred in 2016.

In 2016 and 2017, the defendants worked as sheriff’s deputies at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Housing Unit 2, where they facilitated two inmates to “gas” other inmates. “Gassing” is the throwing of bodily fluids, usually feces and urine, on another person.

The defendants directed two inmates to gas other inmates. The defendants’ positions of authority made the attacks possible. The gassers, in turn, would receive special treatment from Linn and McDermott such as extra food, supplies, or extra time outside of their pod.

At least five inmates were the targets of these gassing incidents.

“These former deputies directed, facilitated, enabled and committed sadistic and terrorizing acts against several men whose protection fell directly within the responsibility of their positions as correctional officers,” said District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.

“The conduct of these defendants violated the law and there was no rational explanation for their actions aside from abject cruelty and a disregard for the humanity of the inmates.”

Deputy District Attorney Tim Wagstaffe, who prosecuted the case, called the incidents “foul” and the behavior of the now-former deputies “egregious.”


Contact: Public Information Officer Angela Ruggiero // Angela.Ruggiero@acgov.org // (510) 919-0081

Posted on Aug 18, 2021