The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office reports that at around 8:35 p.m. on Saturday an inmate housed in a maximum security unit of the county jail assaulted a correctional deputy and two nurses during a routine medical visit.
Taume DeMarco, 42, was initially booked into the facility Aug. 9 by the Fortuna Police Department on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
According to Lt. Dean Flint, the jail did not have a criminal history for DeMarco, but they chose to put him in a higher-supervision “step-down” unit with seven other inmates based on his intake interview. The nurse was initially administering his medication in the day room area when he asked if he could return to his cell for his cup.
According to the press release, DeMarco was receiving medication in his cell when he became aggressive and struck one of the nurses. The deputy separated the two and attempted to radio for back-up, but was allegedly struck on the face by DeMarco, who grabbed and pinned her arms so she could not finish the call. She managed to break free and push him to the ground, ordering him to stay there. A second nurse called for emergency back-up. DeMarco allegedly rose and attacked her. The deputy deployed her taser, which subdued DeMarco. Back deputies arrived and handcuffed DeMarco, who was charged with felony assault on a custodial officer, felony battery on a custodial officer, felony battery with injury on custodial officer, misdemeanor battery on an EMT or Firefighter and two counts of misdemeanor assault on emergency personnel. His bail has been set at $25,000.
This alleged assault comes one week after reports of a similar attack on a correctional deputy by two inmates, which prompted Sheriff William Honsal to hold a press conference to announce that attacks
on jail staff have risen since the passage of prison realignment measures such as Assembly Bill 109. The incident with DeMarco would be the 23rd such assault in 2017.
This story was updated with quotes from Lt. Flint. Flint also told us that the Aug. 9 assault was being counted as two assaults because there were two inmates, and this most recent assault was being counted as three because there were three victims, according to the charges brought by the District Attorney. This would bring the total number up to 26, but the Journal chose to count the number of incidents and stands by its original tally of 23. Flint said previous incidents were not counted as multiple assaults per incident.
From the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On August 19, 2017 at about 8:35 p.m., 42 year old Taume DeMarco, an inmate in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, assaulted a female Correctional Deputy and two female medical nurses during a routine medication pass. DeMarco was arrested and booked into the facility on August 9, 2017 by the Fortuna Police Department for charges of PC245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon. At the time of the assault he was housed in a maximum security celled unit.
DeMarco was receiving medication in his housing unit when, for unknown reasons, he became aggressive and struck one of the nurses attending to him. The Correctional Deputy quickly came to the aid of the nurse and was able to separate her from DeMarco. When the Deputy attempted to use her radio to call for back-up, DeMarco assaulted her by striking her in the face, then wrapped his arms around her pinning her arms to her body so that she was unable to finish her call. The Deputy was able to break free from DeMarco’s hold and push him to the ground. The second nurse called for emergency back-up using her radio. DeMarco refused to follow orders to stay on the ground and instead got up and began to attack the second nurse by attempting to strike her in the face. The Deputy grabbed her department issued conducted electrical weapon (Taser) and deployed it striking DeMarco, while the nurses moved to safety. Additional Deputies arrived and placed DeMarco in handcuffs. He was escorted to a holding cell in the Processing area. DeMarco, the Deputy and both nurses received medical attention for injuries sustained during the assault.
Without the quick response from the Correctional Deputy, this situation may have resulted in a serious assault to facility medical staff.
DeMarco was arrested and charged with PC241.1 (felony assault on a custodial officer), PC243.1 (felony battery on a custodial officer), PC243(c) (1) (felony battery with injury on custodial officer), PC243(b) (misdemeanor battery on an EMT, Firefighter) and two counts of PC241(c) (misdemeanor assault on emergency personnel). His bail has been set at $25,000.
The case has been submitted to the Humboldt County District Attorney for prosecution.