Sheriff's deputies arrested in Los Angeles are facing allegations of corruption and civil rights abuses. The sheriff’s deputies were arrested on Monday after federal officials unsealed five criminal cases against 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 sheriff’s deputies, the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence reported in 2012 that sheriff’s deputies used force against inmates even when there was no threat at all. Similarly, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed in 2012 that the sheriff himself and his top commanders had overlooked violence against inmates and released a report documenting more than 70 cases of misconduct.
In fact, the abuse allegations against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department – which oversees a jail system with more than 18,700 inmates – dates back to the 1970s.
“Flanked by some of his top command staff, Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters Monday he was troubled by the charges and called it a sad day for his department. He said the department would continue to cooperate with the FBI and that deputies who have been charged would be relieved of duty and have their pay suspended.”
On Monday, following an FBI investigation, federal officials unsealed five criminal cases against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.
According to an Associated Press report, the sheriff’s deputies were arrested for the following charges:
“Deputies unlawfully detained and used force on visitors to Men's Central Jail, included detaining and handcuffing the Austrian consul general in one instance, and in another, grabbing a man by the neck, forcing his head into a refrigerator, throwing him to the floor and pepper spraying his eyes.”
“Deputies falsified reports to make arrests seem lawful or in one case, struck, kicked and pepper sprayed an inmate and made false reports to have the inmate charged with and prosecuted for assaulting deputies.”
“Deputies tried to thwart the investigation by unsuccessfully seeking a court order to get the FBI to provide documents and attempted to intimidate a lead FBI agent by falsely saying they were going to seek a warrant for her arrest.”
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.
“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.”
In regard to 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."