Ex-high school student gets $400,000 from Riverside County for alleged beating by sheriff’s deputies

Cellphone video evidence conflicted with the version of events given by deputies, claims a lawsuit by the family of the then-13-year-old student


Riverside County has paid $400,000 to the father of a 13-year-old boy who alleged he was beat up by sheriff’s deputies in 2018 and then falsely accused of resisting arrest.

The father, Daniel Silvas, sued the county in federal court over the alleged beating when his unidentified son was a freshman at San Jacinto High School.

According to the lawsuit, the boy was attending his second day at the school in September 2018 when he was approached by security officer Jesus Peraza and told to go to the office.

Attorney Jerry Steering, representing the boy, said there had been fights at the school the day before, and the school resource deputies suspected the boy and a friend might be stirring up trouble.

The boy protested that he had done nothing wrong and refused to go. He walked away from Peraza, who requested assistance from school resource Deputy Derrick Bunn.

The boy then agreed to go to the office, with Bunn and the school security officer walking close behind him in an “intimidating” manner, said the lawsuit. The boy turned and told the two to stop following him.

The deputy allegedly shoved the boy and slammed him to the ground, according to the lawsuit, repeatedly yelling, “Don’t (expletive) with me.” Deputy Timothy Dunlap joined the fray, helping to handcuff the boy and transport him to Juvenile Hall, where he was released to his father.

In their reports, the deputies and Peraza said the boy had taken a fighting stance, balled his hands and cursed at them — a version of events that conflicted with a cellphone video taken of the altercation, said the lawsuit.

The suit accused Bunn of perjuring himself in his sworn report.

The boy was charged by Riverside County prosecutors with violently resisting arrest, despite the cellphone footage.

“Unfortunately, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is more interested in protecting peace officers (from) liability for their outrages against the public than they are in truth or justice,” Steering said. “Also unfortunately, these days ‘battery ON a peace officer’ is almost always ‘battery BY a peace officer,’ and ‘resisting arrest’ is almost always a charge used to justify the use of excessive force by a peace officer.”

The suit alleged that Bunn, Dunlap and Peraza conspired to fabricate evidence against the boy.

The criminal case against the boy went to trial in 2019 and he was acquitted by a Juvenile Court judge, according to the lawsuit.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials did not return a call seeking comment.

Ex-high school student gets $400,000 from Riverside County for alleged beating by sheriff’s deputies – Press Enterprise