Barrio Logan Rally Man Was Jail Suicide 24 Hours After Cop-Assault Conviction

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Bordertown Patriots march toward Chicano Park in Barrio Logan on day Frederick Jefferson assaulted Officer Matthew Ruggiero. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Authorities Monday released the name of a man who hung himself in his jail cell less than 24 hours after being convicted of assaulting a police officer during a rally last winter in Barrio Logan.

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Deputies conducting a security check at George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa about 2:15 a.m. Sept. 1 found Frederick Jefferson, 39, dead in his cell.

The county Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Jefferson’s death a suicide.

“Jefferson was the only person inside his secured cell at the time of his death, and there were no other injuries noted,” said sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams.

Jefferson had been sentenced a day earlier to seven years in state prison for repeatedly punching San Diego police Officer Matthew Ruggiero on the morning of Feb. 3.

Jefferson attacked Ruggiero after the lawman told him to stop walking in the middle of Logan Avenue near a gathering of protesters and counter-protesters who were facing off over a dispute about displaying the U.S. flag at Chicano Park. Jefferson struggled with at least five other officers before being taken to the ground and handcuffed.

Ruggiero, who suffered a fractured nose and cheekbone in the assault, spoke to the defendant during the sentencing hearing, describing him as an “irate, violent person” who changed the officer’s life forever.

“He destroyed my face with a single punch,” Ruggiero told Judge Leo Valentine Jr.

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The defendant, for his part, contended that he had acted in self-defense.

Jefferson also had been charged in Baltimore with the alleged 2009 rape of an 18-year-old, a prosecutor told the judge.

— City News Service

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