To be an inmate in the Los Angeles County jails is to fear deputy attacks. In the past year, deputies have assaulted scores of non-resisting inmates, according to reports from jail chaplains, civilians, and inmates. Many attacks are unprovoked. Nearly all go unpunished: these acts of violence are covered up by a department that refuses to acknowledge the pervasiveness of deputy violence in the jail system.

Deputies act with such impunity that in the past year even civilians have begun coming forward with eyewitness accounts of deputies beating non-resisting inmates in the jails. These civilian accounts support the seventy inmate declarations describing deputy-on-inmate beatings and deputy-instigated inmate-on-inmate violence and deputy threats of assaults against inmates that the ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU/SC) has collected in the past year, as well as the myriad inmate declarations the ACLU/SC has collected over the years.


“To this day, recalling the beating brings tears to my eyes, and I cannot finish talking about it without taking a few moments to compose myself.”

— Chaplain Paulino Juarez, describing a 2009 beating by deputies of an inmate in Men’s Central Jail.

“I was so shocked that despite the deputies seeing me watch them beat up the inmate, they continued to kick and beat him. It was like they didn’t even care that there was a witness”

— Chaplain Doe, describing a 2011 beating by deputies of an inmate in Men’s Central Jail.

“To an astonishing extent, unchecked violence, both deputy-on-inmate and inmate-upon-inmate, permeates Men’s Central Jail and Twin Towers jails, which are components of the Los Angeles County Jails, managed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department under the leadership of Sheriff Leroy Baca. … The voluminous evidence I have reviewed cries out for an independent, far-reaching, and in-depth investigation by the Federal Government. The problem can no longer be ignored.”

— Thomas Parker, former Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. 

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