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LA county sheriff’s department ‘permeated’ by violent gang

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been plagued by a gang of deputies who sport tattoos with Nazi imagery and have infiltrated a station to enact civil rights abuses against the public, according to a claim made by a whistleblower.

In a claim filed in June against Los Angeles County, Deputy Sheriff Austreberto Gonzalez details that roughly a fifth of the 100 deputies at the Compton Station (CPT) are a part of the gang – called the Executioners. 

Another 20 deputies are considered to be ‘prospects’ or close associates of the gang, the filing states. 

The filing has prompted a response from Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who took to Facebook to announce that the department was putting its foot down when dealing with disingenuous deputies. ‘Swift administrative action’ is taking place as they look into the allegations. 

The claim details that the Executioners ‘operate at CPT with impunity,’ with members acting out against their fellow deputies and the public to increase their standing in the organization. 

Nearly all the members have a matching tattoo to symbolize their status in the gang – comprised of a skull with Nazi imagery and an AK-47. The firearm is heavily associated with gang activity and not with law enforcement, the claim states. 

‘Members become inked as ‘Executioners’ after executing members of the public, or otherwise committing acts of violence in furtherance of the gang,’ the claim alleges. Those involved in fatal shootings are ‘immediately’ tatted during one of the many ‘inking parties.’ 

African-American deputies and women are not allowed to join the Executioners. 

The claim names Deputy Jaime Juarez as the inked ‘shotcaller’ for the Executioners, and details how he and the gang participated in illegal work slowdowns and stopped performing their duties so that they could ‘impose their will’ on CPT. 

Juarez is said to have attempted to flex the gang’s influence when trying to sway Captain Larry Waldie to change the Training and Scheduling deputy position. The role hands out shifts to deputies, a desired position for the gang who sought to use their own member to give preferential treatment for shifts. 

When Waldie refused, the claim explains, Deputy Juarez and the Executioners responded by slowing their work. The claim states that the gang was paid full salaries as they did little work and costed taxpayers immense losses. 

Gonzalez is a decorated Marine veteran who has been with the department since 2007 and has spent the last 5.5 years at the Compton location. 

WIth a medically fragile daughter who requires serious medical attention, Gonzalez routinely would need to be readily available to care for her. 

In 2016, Gonzalez tried to take time off so that he could care for his daughter. The claim states that Jaurez, who was the Training and Scheduling Deputy at the time, refused the time for Gonzales and forced him to use CFRA/FMLA leave. 

He even went as far to assign Gonzalez the ‘early morning shifts,’ giving better scheduling to an inked Executioner and forcing the father to have to use six to eight weeks of PTO so that he could care for his sickly daughter. 

The claim also alleges that the gang participated in illegal arrest quotas after being reprimanded for low arrests, resulting in CPT arrest statistics increasing by roughly 300 per cent in one month. 

It was during this particular time that Gonzales was partnered with Deputy Illaina Vargas, named in the claim as Jaurez’s girlfriend, noticing that she would make unusual misdemeanor arrests in a bid to boost the arrest stats. 

The filing alleges that as a result of not meeting the new arrest requirements, Gonzales and other deputies were ‘demoted’ and placed on traffic duty. 

Recent allegations surround a February 2020 incident where Gonzales anonymously reported a deputy who assaulted a fellow officer while on duty. A officer working in the InterAgency Board, where Gonzales submitted the anonymous call, turned over the the voice clip to the Executioners. 

According to the claim, deputies began threatening Gonzales and forced him to take off of work for numerous days. During his time off, Gonzales was sent a picture showing graffiti on the station wall that read ‘ART IS A RAT.’

As a result of the treatment, Gonzales stepped down from his field training officer position. He also struggled finding a new partner as deputies refused to work with him because of the stigma attached to his name. 

‘We have a gang here that has grown to the point where it dominates every aspect of life at the Compton station,’ Alan Romero, an attorney representing Gonzalez, explained to the Los Angeles Times. ‘It essentially controls scheduling, the distribution of informant tips, and assignments to deputies in the station with preference shown to members of the gang as well as prospects.’

Sheriff Alex Villanueva released a statement declaring their was no gang at the department but announcing the investigation. 

‘I take these allegations very seriously and recently enacted a policy specifically addressing illicit groups, deputy cliques, and subgroups,’ he said, highlighting a February police that made it so that officers could not form groups.

On Thursday, however, Inspector General Max Huntsman said that he was ‘aware of no implementation whatsoever’ of the policy and added that looking into secret societies proved difficult ‘because of the obstruction of the Sheriff’s Department.’

The allegations from Compton come as the station faces criticism for excessive use of force, including the May arrest of Dalvin Price and the June fatal shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado. 

The cliques were first brought to light in a civil case brought by the family of Donta Taylor, a 31-year-old man who was fatally gunned down during a foot chase in 2016. While deputies claimed Taylor had a handgun, no weapon was found.   

Compton Deputy Samuel Aldama was forced to reveal his tattoo at the time of the deposition and revealed the number of deputies who had the same tattoo. Aldama denied the group was a gang and the county settled with the Taylor family for $7million.

‘Skeletons, which is a symbol of death, there were flames coming out of Aldama’s tattoos which symbolizes he’s emerging from hell, there’s an AK-47,’ attorney John Sweeney, who represented the family, explained to ABC 7.

He later added: ‘This is all taxpayer money, so yes, the taxpayers should be very worried. And criminal defense attorneys are going to be lining up making motions for new trials.’

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