A former sheriff’s deputy was accused Monday of pouring scalding water on a mentally ill inmate at a Southern California jail this year, causing first- and second-degree burns that weren't treated for more than six hours, authorities said.
The former Orange County sheriff’s deputy, Guadalupe Ortiz, 47, was charged with two felonies — assault or battery by a public officer and battery with serious bodily injury, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a news release.
Ortiz, a 22-year veteran of the department who worked 19 of those years as a deputy, was fired Friday, the DA’s office said.
District Attorney Todd Spitzer blamed Ortiz in a statement for “inflicting unnecessary harm on a mentally ill inmate out of frustration.”
The inmate was not identified.
The DA's office said the incident occurred April 1, when Ortiz was working at a jail in Santa Ana, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles.
After the inmate refused to comply with a deputy's orders to remove his hands from the hatch of a door, Ortiz and a second deputy offered to help, the release says. When the inmate again refused, Ortiz filled a cup from a hot water dispenser and poured it on the inmate's hands, the DA’s office said.
More than six hours later, the inmate — whose arms were peeling — asked a different deputy for medical help.
The sheriff's department said in a statement that it investigated the incident and asked the DA's office to consider charges.
The statement added that Ortiz's actions "were an isolated occurrence."
Efforts to reach Ortiz on Monday were unsuccessful. It was not clear whether he has a lawyer; online court records did not list one.
The union representing sheriff's deputies in Orange County did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ortiz, who faces up to four years if he is convicted, is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 11.