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LA County jail probe: Corruption puts 18 Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies in jail

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The Los Angeles County jail probe into corruption, abuses, and bribery among Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies has resulted in the arrest of 18 deputies. The Los Angeles jail probe conducted by the FBI reached a highlight on Monday when federal officials unsealed five criminal cases against the 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, reported Fox News on Dec. 9, 2013.

Prior to Monday’s arrest of the 18 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, a probe by the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence discovered in 2012 that sheriff’s deputies used force against inmates even when there was no threat at all.

Similarly, the American Civil Liberties Union conducted in 2012 its own probe into the Los Angeles County jail abuses against inmates and released a report documenting more than 70 cases of misconduct.

Dating back to the 1970s, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department – which oversees a jail system with more than 18,700 inmates – has been facing allegations of committing crimes.

On Monday, following an FBI investigation, federal officials unsealed five criminal cases against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.

The Los Angeles County jail probe revealed several major incidents including deputies unlawfully detaining and using force on visitors to Men's Central Jail, falsifying reports to make arrests seem lawful, and charging inmates with assault on deputies when in fact it was deputies who abused the inmates.

“Others charged in the documents unsealed Monday are a deputy accused of possessing an assault weapon that was illegally modified, and three deputies — all brothers — accused of a $350,000 mortgage fraud scheme.”

Among the sheriff’s deputies arrested on Monday are two lieutenants who are being charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. One of the two lieutenants was overseeing the sheriff’s department’s safe jails program. The other lieutenant was in charge for overseeing allegations of crimes committed by sheriff’s personnel. Both lieutenants along with two other sergeants and three deputies are being accused of having prevented the FBI from contacting an informant by falsifying a report that made it seem that the informant had been released when in reality he had been moved to another cell under a false name.

In regard to the Los Angeles County jail probe and Monday’s arrest of 18 sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. commented that “these incidents did not take place in a vacuum -- in fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized. The pattern of activity alleged in the obstruction of justice case shows how some members of the Sheriff's Department considered themselves to be above the law."

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