A transgender woman was forced to share a jail cell with 3 men, and one of them beat her up so badly it broke her jaw, lawsuit says

·3 min read
An entrance on the street level of San Diego Central Jail with a sign that reads "sheriff's intake"
San Diego Central Jail.San Diego Sheriff's Office
  • Kristina Frost was put in a jail cell with three men against her wishes in 2020, a lawsuit said.

  • One of the men "viciously" assaulted her and broke her jaw, the lawsuit said.

  • She said deputies at the San Diego jail also repeatedly misgendered her, according to the filing.

A transgender woman was forced to share a jail cell last year with three men, one of whom "viciously" assaulted her when she was asleep, according to a lawsuit against San Diego County and its sheriff's department.

When Kristina Frost first arrived at San Diego Central Jail on November 25, 2020, she was placed alone in a holding cell, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday and reviewed by Insider.

But later that day, the deputies moved Frost to a "minimally monitored" cell with three men, the lawsuit said.

The move was "against her wishes," and Frost was "confused" as to why she was being transferred, given that her Department of Motor Vehicles records and driver's license both said she was a woman, the lawsuit said. Frost also said that at the time of her booking, she had been wearing "feminine" clothes — high-cut shorts and a bra — the filing said.

She also said deputies there repeatedly misgendered Frost both in person and on official reports, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, Frost was "viciously" attacked by one of the men in the cell after she had fallen asleep on the night of November 25. She received "closed-fist punches" to the face, which resulted in her jaw being fractured in two places, the lawsuit said.

Frost required two surgeries for her broken jaw and is now required to wear dentures, the lawsuit said.

In the suit, Frost said that some deputies witnessed the attack and that none of them "immediately intervened." The man was "eventually" removed from the cell, according to the filing.

Frost also said she had to wait up to 12 hours for medical attention, despite being unable to eat or drink water because of her injuries, the lawsuit said.

Frost has sued San Diego County and its sheriff's department for punitive and compensatory damages, and she is seeking for her attorney fees to be covered. The complaint accused them of negligence and failure to protect or deliberate indifference to safety risks and needs, among others.

San Diego County and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

A February training bulletin from San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which was published after the alleged attack against Frost, says arrestees should be taken to facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

According to a 2020 investigation by NBC News, transgender people are rarely placed in cells corresponding to their gender identity. Transgender people in US prisons have almost always been housed according to the gender assigned to them at birth, NBC News reported.

NBC News said that out of 4,890 transgender state prisoners tracked in 45 states and Washington, DC, it was able to confirm just 15 cases in which a person was housed according to their lived gender.

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