If the Los Angeles sheriffs don’t outright kill you, you still have a good chance of ending up in their clutches because they run the LA County jail system. In the jails, the white supremacist, sadistic, neo-Nazi sheriff’s deputy gangs that are rampant throughout the entire Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) exercise even more terrifying power. Here are just a few examples:
Enforcing White Supremacy
In 1989, Clydell Crawford, a 21-year-old Black youth, was incarcerated at the Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center, then known as the Wayside Honor Rancho. Deputies there had a gang called the “Wayside Whities” that targeted Black inmates, especially those who challenged white authority.
On December 2, Crawford got into a fight with a white inmate and came out on top. Soon after, a deputy came into his barracks, handcuffed him, and put him against the wall. Other officers gathered around. Crawford recounted to Knock LA:
“...he just said he’s going to teach me about beating up on white guys. And that’s when they all started. They had a Black officer there, he didn’t help me up. Then they targeted my leg and they were yelling ‘Wayside Whities.’” The deputies beat Crawford with their flashlights, striking over 30 blows to his head, torso, and legs. They continued to beat his leg until it was broken. “I remember that flashlight kept hitting me in the same spot over and over and over until it started bleeding and snapped,” he says. “[The deputy] was making sure I was going to feel his wrath, making sure I was going to understand wherever it was, that the Wayside Whities were here.... I thought I was going to die that night.”
Crawford survived, and his legal team reported the incident to the LASD, the District Attorney, the LA Board of Supervisors, and various judges. Knock LA reports that “it’s unclear” if any of the deputies involved were ever disciplined. The Internal Affairs Bureau declared that the “Wayside Whities” didn’t even exist, that it was just a mocking term made up by Black inmates for white guards.
In 2012, the ACLU filed a lawsuit (Rosas v. Baca) regarding conditions at the Men’s Central Jail where two other deputy gangs were active. The lawsuit detailed accounts of deputies shouting “racial slurs against Black people, including the N-word and ‘monkey,’” and of “slamming the inmates’ heads into walls, punching them in the face with their fists, kicking them with their boots, and shooting them multiple times with their tasers,” resulting in fractured eye sockets and blindness, broken legs, shattered jaws, collapsed lungs, and nerve damage.
The LA Sheriff’s deputy, Samuel Aldama, who murdered Donta Taylor (see Part 1) testified that he and up to 20 other deputies have a deputy gang tattoo (see above) on his calf depicting a skull with a rifle encircled by flames and a Nazi-style helmet with the letters CPT, for Compton.
Torturing and Killing the Mentally Ill
In 1998, according to a report from Loyola University, a deputy gang called “the Posse” was formed to oppose policies that were supposed to treat mentally ill inmates more like patients. On August 29, deputies at Twin Towers Correctional Facility beat Danny Smith to death while the mentally ill man was still handcuffed. Nine days later, “eight members of the Posse beat another mentally ill inmate so severely that he was left with flashlight marks on his back and boot prints on his side.”Those deputies were fired but not charged with a crime, and other members of the Posse remained on the job at Twin Towers.1
In 2011, The Appeal reported that a rookie deputy claimed that a supervisor ordered him to beat up a mentally ill prisoner. In 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported on how mentally ill prisoners, who then accounted for 15 percent of the jail’s population, bore the brunt of roughly a third of deputies’ use of force incidents.
In 2014, S.A. Thomas, a mentally ill man, held for a month at LA County Jail, was denied medication daily, causing him to suffer hallucinations and live in a state of fear. Even on a day that he was scheduled to be in court, he claimed, he was not given medication, rendering him less able to competently testify in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department.
Beatings of Relatives and Visitors:
In 2013, reports surfaced that even families and other visitors are not safe:
The Los Angeles Times reported that “Three visitors were taken to a deputy break room, which could not be seen by the public, and beaten” by the sheriffs. Deputies were reprimanded “for not using force on visitors” who failed to show respect to the jailers. One of those visitors, Gabriel Carrillo, who was visiting his brother2, had his arm broken by the sheriffs while he was handcuffed.... In another incident, an Austrian consulate official, when visiting an Austrian inmate, was arrested and handcuffed despite not committing any crime and despite the fact that foreign diplomatic officials are supposed to be immune from prosecution due to their legal status in the country....
After they carried out the beatings, the sheriffs discussed how to keep their stories straight and conspired together in writing reports that falsely accused the beating victims of assaulting sheriffs. Imagine the terror of going to visit a loved one and being brutalized yourself. And imagine the impact this has on discouraging people from visiting, thus giving the Nazi guards even more freedom to carry out their crimes.
And Nothing Has Changed!
In spite of numerous lawsuits, investigations, newspaper exposures, NOTHING HAS CHANGED! In fact, a 2016 report showed that deputies’ use of force against inmates increased by 40 percent from 2014 to 2015, with many orbital (eye socket) injuries and hand fractures. And LA County has paid out millions of dollars to settle claims of excessive force against inmates.
Then in 2018, the Guardian reported that deputies, “supported and protected by senior officers up to the sheriff himself, were found to have engaged in systematic beatings of prisoners, helped smuggle drugs and other contraband in and out of jail on behalf of White Power gang leaders, and worked to conceal aspects of the scandal from the FBI.”
Coming Soon: Part III of this exposure on the LA Sheriff's Department... follow revcom.us