August 5th, 2020
Via: Los Angeles Times:
Los Angeles County has paid out roughly $55 million in settlements in cases in which sheriff’s deputies were alleged to belong to a secret society, records obtained by The Times show, illuminating the entrenched nature of a subculture that has plagued the Sheriff’s Department for years.
The figure comes from a list that includes payouts in dozens of lawsuits and claims involving deputies associated with tattooed groups accused of glorifying an aggressive style of policing. The report, prepared by L.A. County attorneys, lists nearly 60 cases, some of them still pending, and names eight specific cliques.
The county has paid out nearly $21 million in cases that began in the last 10 years alone, according to the document.
The high cost underscores how these deputy groups — with monikers such as the Vikings, Regulators, 3000 Boys and the Banditos — have operated out of several Sheriff’s Department stations and jails for decades, exhibiting what critics have long alleged are the violent, intimidating tactics similar in some ways to criminal street gangs. The cases involve incidents that date to 1990.
Over the years, a succession of elected sheriffs has failed to bring the subgroups under control despite multiple internal investigations and, more recently, a probe by the FBI. Many civil liberties advocates and county watchdogs have accused the Sheriff’s Department of turning a blind eye.
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