Los Angeles law enforcement agencies have had more than their share of scandals. Still, testimony coming about about the behavior of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is shocking.
Six Sheriff's Department officials are currently standing trial on charges of obstructing a federal civil rights investigation into their department. The Feds began investigating the department over an apparent "pattern" of abuse of inmates at county jails; then, the Sheriff's department allegedly conspired to keep the investigators from doing their jobs.
The big picture is sickening. The details are even worse. The LA Times today reports on yesterday's testimony by former LASD deputy Gilbert Michel (who was caught in an FBI sting smuggling cell phones to prisoners in exchange for cash), who spoke about the environment of casual brutality among deputies charged with guarding prisoners. For example, after one inmate told Michel "Talk to my lawyer," he pulled the inmate out of his cell, shoved his face in the wall, and kicked him in order to purposely provoke a fight:
Michel and the other deputy fought the inmate and eventually handcuffed him, then the other deputy sprayed the inmate with pepper spray, he said. They took the inmate to the clinic for his injuries, then Michel wrote up a report in which he made up a claim that he had seen the inmate passing drugs through the bars, and that the inmate had called him a homophobic slur during the search.