- Jun 23, 2013
A new lawsuit describes a violent gang in LA County. Its members are deputy sheriffs.
As concerns over police misconduct and use of force have drawn increased national attention in recent years, activists have argued that a key part of the problem is the ability for officers to shield one another from accountability.
But in California, critics of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have been faced with a unique version of the issue: the existence of what have been called “deputy gangs” — cliques of officers who allegedly engage in violent and potentially criminal behavior while protecting their members and clashing with other law enforcement officers.
These groups, which have reportedly been around in some form or another in Los Angeles County since the 1970s, have been a frequent topic of local media reporting. Outlets like the Los Angeles Times have highlighted how other officers have filed formal complaints about the “secretive groups,” describing them as powerful forces within the sheriff’s department who beat and harass local residents and, at times, actively work to intimidate other nonaffiliated officers.