Victim Of A Crime? Call Your Local Gang
July 5, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Most of us would get fired if we made significant mistakes, lied or beat people up at our place of employment. Would you like to suck at your job, yet be able to keep it too? Maybe spend time at home taking paid vacations while other people try to cover up for your misdeeds? Then a job as a deputy for the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department is right up your alley.
A report from the LASD’s inspector general shows a dismal record of hiring, training and performance evaluations going back as far as 2009. It is doubtful that, prior to 2009, the situation was any better.
Among the most damning revelations was that evaluations of deputy trainees were riddled with boilerplate cut and pasted phrases, repeated over and over again, indicating that the evaluations may never have taken place. A small county police force called the Office of Public Safety, was disbanded in 2010. Its duties were assumed by LASD, who hired nearly 300 officers from that force. Of that amount, 100 appear to have been fully unfit for duty, including a statutory rapist who had sex (and admitted it) with a 14-year-old girl when he was 28. Two hundred of these officers had been rejected by other agencies.
These revelations are just the very tip of the iceberg, and a hint at the deep rooted gang-like culture at LASD where problem officers from other agencies and trainees with poor performance who would be more likely to go with the status quo got assistance in keeping their jobs.
The official explanation, according to current Sheriff Jim McDonnell, is that:
[O]nly 4% of deputy applicants make it to the sheriff’s academy and 20% of them drop out before graduation. By the time successful recruits start work as deputies, the department has invested a lot of time and money in them, and they have been “thoroughly vetted.”
Because of this investment the department takes great efforts to ensure that those who can competently complete the training process are afforded every opportunity to succeed.
But if you have an agency with a significant amount of corruption, retaining the new hires and recruits with significant problems creates loyalties and obligations. Good applicants who score high, have better education and a lack of criminal tendencies make problems for corrupt entities.
Recently former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was sentenced to five years in federal prison while his superior, former Sheriff Lee Baca, cut a deal resulting in a six month sentence. Both men had long careers at LASD. Tanaka was reportedly a member of the Lynwood Vikings. A judge overseeing a federal lawsuit found:
the actions of many deputies working in the Lynwood sub-station are motivated by racial hostility; these deputies regularly disregard the civil rights of individuals they have sworn to protect. Many of the incidents which brought about this motion involved a group of Lynwood area deputies who are members of a neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang -the Vikings- which exists with the knowledge of departmental policy makers.
It might seem strange that neo-Nazis would admit a Japanese member, but in court Tanaka admitted he still had the Vikings tattoo but said it was just a mascot. However, in this picture, you have to admit that all those deputies including Tanaka do appear to be flashing some sort of gang sign. If the second in command has that kind of background, this mindset is likely to be “institutionalized.”
Other known gangs inside the LASD include:
- Little Devils (Reportedly the first, 1971 East LA)
- The Grim Reapers (Lennox Station)
- The Regulators (Century Station)
- Jump out boys (Gang Unit)
- 2000 Boys (LA Men’s central Jail 2nd floor)
- 3000 Boys (LA Men’s central jail 3rd floor)
- 5000 Boys (Yes, 5th floor)
In 2013, after the arrests of 16 individuals who were or had been deputies with LASD, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said:
Our investigation also found that these incidents did not take place in a vacuum in fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized.
Where were these deputies working? Men’s central jail. Those are just the ones who got caught. It’s anyone’s guess as to how deep and widespread gang culture is in LASD, but it’s not likely to be the last we’ll hear of it.