Sixteen officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were arrested on Monday in part of a two year federal investigation into allegations of abuse and corruption at Men’s Central Jail.
The indictment accused Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, the supervisor of deputies working in the visiting center, as reprimanding deputies for not using force against visitors who had “supposedly ‘disrespected’ these deputy sheriffs through the visitors’ words or conduct,” the indictment said.
In addition to the charges of abuse of both prisoners and visitors to the jail, officials are accused of “disappearing” an FBI informant within the prison by faking his release, changing his name and moving him to an isolated wing. US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. told a press conference,
he pattern of activity alleged in the obstruction of justice case shows how some members of the Sheriff’s Department considered themselves to be above the law. Instead of cooperating with the federal investigation to ensure that corrupt law enforcement officers would be brought to justice, the defendants in this case are accused of taking affirmative steps designed to ensure that light would not shine on illegal conduct that violated basic constitutional rights.
Charges also include allegations that two deputies ran a mortgage scam and that one illegally modified a rifle.