“The tables are turned now,” says Gabriel Carrillo. “let’s see how they like it.”
If Carrillo sounds bitter, it's not like he doesn't have a good reason.
It was Feb. 26, 2011 when Carrillo went into the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, intending to visit his brother who was being held there. Carrillo broke a rule. He brought a cell phone where one was not allowed. But other than that, he did nothing to warrant what came next.
Two sheriff’s deputies handcuffed him, took him to a deputy’s break room — and beat him savagely.
“I’m in a room with all these cops just beating up on me,” Carrillo said. “I blacked out and I thought the worst was going to happen, where I’ll just end up dying in there.”
Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they charged Carrillo with assault against the deputies.
One sergeant snapped a photo of Carrillo with his facial injuries from the beating. That’s the photo at right.
“I’ve never seen such an outrageous abuse of the badge,” Carrillo’s attorney Ron Kaye, told a Los Angeles TV station. “His hands were behind his back in handcuffs. He was visiting his brother, they sensed some disrespect from him and they decided to teach him some jailhouse punishment.”
Carrillo’s case set off a federal investigation into brutality and corruption inside the L.A. County Sherri’s Department, which runs the county’s jails. That investigation culminated yesterday with the indictment of 18 deputies for a wide variety of incidents.
“A federal grand jury and the United States Attorney’s Office has embraced Mr. Carrillo’s case, has found other cases where these five deputies were acting as thugs, and they were taking people into this break room thinking that nothing could ever happen with them,” said Kaye. “Well that’s not true.”
The out-of-control deputies even once cuffed and detained a top Austrian diplomat, the country’s consul general, when she tried to visit an Austrian national held in the jail.
In another case cited in the indictments, the FBI gave one inmate Anthony Brown, a cell phone so he could secretly record incidents of abuse that he witnessed. When deputies found the phone and learned what it was for, they hid Brown and wiped his name out of the jail’s database.
Then they threatened to arrest the FBI special agent who was investigating the case.
SOURCES: CBS 2 Los Angeles, LAist, Los Angeles Times