Originally published on June 2, 2015, at NationofChange.org
Two Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies have agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges regarding a brutal assault against an inmate’s brother visiting the Men’s Central Jail (MCJ). After the first deputy pled guilty earlier this year, a second deputy agreed to plead guilty last week to lying to FBI agents during an interview concerning the use force employed against a handcuffed visitor who was not resisting. Both deputies have also agreed to testify against their former colleagues if the prosecution calls on them at trial.
On February 26, 2011, Gabriel Carrillo attempted to visit his brother in MCJ when deputies discovered that Carrillo’s girlfriend, Griselda Torres, had brought a cellphone into the facility. When questioned by deputies, Torres admitted that both she and Carrillo had their cellphones with them. After confirming that he did have a phone, Carrillo asked Deputy Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, “What are you going to do, arrest me?”
According to the initial report, Carrillo was placed in handcuffs and escorted to a nearby break room. After deputies removed the handcuff from Carrillo’s right wrist to fingerprint him, he attacked the deputies and attempted to escape. The deputies claimed that Carrillo was intentionally spitting blood at them as they shot him in the face with pepper spray. They admitted to punching Carrillo several times to subdue him before placing Carrillo in restraints again.
But according to the recent plea agreements, Carrillo did not assault the deputies and was unable to resist arrest because his hands were cuffed while they were beating and pepper-spraying him on the floor. Carrillo filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and the district attorney later dropped the charges against him. The county paid Carrillo $1.2 million to settle the civil suit.