The LA Justice Report, a collaboration between Spot.us and Celeste Fremon‘s WitnessLA, has launched the first part of its investigative series “Dangerous Jails”–looking into the troubling realities of deputy abuse of inmates inside the LA County Jail network. Your humble Fishie was the lead reporter on the piece.
Among other findings, our story reports that only two days after the fight at the Sheriff’s Department’s Montebello Christmas party that left two deputies badly beaten at the hands of nearly a dozen of their colleagues–deputies on the third floor of Men’s Central Jail allegedly severely beat an inmate, stripped him naked and threw him in a cell with gang members, where he was raped multiple times.
A six-month investigation by the LA Justice Report, however, has uncovered new information from a source well placed inside the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a whistleblower who is intimately familiar with the workings of Men’s Central Jail, who informed us that rogue cultures have been allowed to flourish for years inside the facility. Our source maintains that Sheriff’s Department officials at the highest levels have known since at least 2005 that there were serious problems with groups of deputies who operate inside Men’s Central Jail almost like street gangs, complete with distinguishing tattoos and handshakes.
According to our whistleblower, who agreed to speak with us on the condition of anonymity, the problem of inmate abuse in LA County Jails, often led by such groups, has been ongoing for the better part of a decade. As far back as 2006, top-ranking Sheriff’s Department officials ignored the advice of their on-the-ground commanding officer inside CJ, who wanted to break up the deputy gangs he saw as a serious problem. And a multimillion-dollar plan to install cameras inside CJ was abandoned in the same year, 2006, despite widespread reports of abuse inside the jail.