Deputies Testify Against Former Colleagues in Jail Abuse Trial

Originally published on June 21, 2015, at NationofChange.org

Two former Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies testified against their fellow deputies this week after brutally assaulting an inmate’s brother and covering up their excessive use of force. The victim and his girlfriend also testified in court presenting evidence that the deputies had lied about removing one of his handcuffs before beating the victim unconscious in a break room at Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) in Downtown Los Angeles. According to the deputies’ testimonies, their sergeant ordered them to lie and concoct a false narrative accusing the victim of resisting arrest.

On February 26, 2011, Gabriel Carrillo attempted to visit his brother, who was an inmate at MCJ, when deputies discovered that Carrillo’s then-girlfriend, Griselda Torres, had brought a cellphone into the facility. When questioned by deputies, Torres admitted that both she and Carrillo had their cellphones on them. After confirming that he did have a phone, Carrillo asked Deputy Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, “What are you going to do, arrest me?”

According to Zunggeemoge’s testimony, the deputy cuffed Carrillo’s hands behind his back and escorted him to a nearby break room, while Deputy Sussie Ayala placed Torres in handcuffs and followed them. Zunggeemoge slammed Carrillo into a refrigerator before patting him down and lifting his cuffed arms in order to inflict more pain. As Carrillo continued to mouth off to the deputies, Ayala called for backup on her radio.

When deputies Fernando Luviano, Noel Womack, and Sgt. Eric Gonzalez arrived, Zunggeemoge left the room to run Carrillo’s name through a criminal database. Zunggeemoge returned to find Luviano roughing up Carrillo. Instead of de-escalating the violence, Zunggeemoge rushed into the room and helped Luviano smash Carrillo’s face against the ground.

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Undersheriff and Captain Indicted on Federal Obstruction Charges

Originally published on May 16, 2015, at NationofChange.org

A former Los Angeles undersheriff and sheriff’s captain surrendered to authorities on Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted them on obstruction and conspiracy charges. Accused of corruptly influencing and impeding an FBI investigation into abuse and bribery within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and retired Captain William “Tom” Carey allegedly ordered deputies to secretly transfer an FBI informant under false names and engage in witness tampering. Former Capt. Carey has also been accused of providing false testimony in two separate trials.

In September 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report documenting over 70 instances of excessive force, misconduct, and sexual assault committed by deputies. A few months later, the ACLU sued the Sheriff’s Department accusing then-Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Tanaka of covering up and condoning violence against prisoners. After attempting several times to notify Baca and his staff about the abuses, corruption, and misconduct committed by deputies at Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) in Downtown Los Angeles, former sheriff’s commander Bob Olmsted contacted the FBI.

“I knew I had to act, and as a result, I notified the FBI of the department’s culture and acceptance of excessive force, inmate abuse, sheriff’s gangs, and corruption,” admitted retired Cmdr. Olmsted.

According to the indictment, a former deputy, an ACLU employee, numerous inmates, and a chaplain all reported witnessing deputies using excessive force against inmates. In May 2010, a former LASD deputy trainee reported to Carey that the trainee, his training officer, and several other deputies participated in a premeditated beating of an inmate with mental disabilities.

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L.A. Sheriff Retires as His Deputies Face Charges of Abusing Inmates and Threatening FBI Agent

Originally published on January 8, 2014, at WeAreChange.org

In an effort to expose police corruption, 18 Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies have been charged with various reports of inmate abuse, assaulting visitors, obstructing an FBI investigation, and threatening an FBI agent.

While investigating claims of Sheriff’s Deputies using excessive force on inmates and smuggling contraband into jail in exchange for bribes, an FBI informant allegedly paid Deputy Gilbert Michel to smuggle a cell phone into the jail.

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