Abuse at L.A. County Jails 

Thursday, Jun 2 2011

Our cover story on Sheriff's deputies who beat inmates — and even a visitor — in L.A. County jails ("Senseless Violence," by Chris Vogel, May 27) brought a flood of responses and touched off a strident debate about jails and Sheriff Lee Baca.

As bigmom writes: "It's time for the people of L.A. to unite and rally to get rid of the Sheriff's Department. The funds to fund this gangster-like organization should be given to LAPD and LAFD. LAPD can use the funds to hire more police officers and they can patrol the entire county of L.A. The fire department can also hire more firefighters. The sheriffs are nothing but a bunch of party animals, preying on all the young female employees in the workplace (courts, detention centers), and more than half of these sheriffs are married! Baca, what are you going to do about this?"

Antifa1970 writes: "Everyone should watch the undercover investigation of a group of deputies calling themselves the '3000 boys,' ... who work on the 3rd floor of the Men's Central Jail. These punk-ass pigs have a heavy reputation for violence on inmates as well as ordinary citizens when off-duty. It's on YouTube."

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The opening of the story was an account of a beating suffered by Gabriel Carrillo after he and his girlfriend went to visit Carrillo's brother in jail. Carrillo says he forgot he was carrying a cellphone, which is prohibited in the visitation area. After deputies discovered the phone and hauled him into a room nearby, Carrillo says he mouthed off. Jailers then handcuffed and beat him.

Wow5184 writes: "These sheriffs are out of control and use excessive force with no provocation to do so. They are cowards."

But Jurgs62 has a different view. "Boohoo. This piece smacks of manipulation. This 'baby-faced' gangbanger tried to smuggle cellphones into jail so his Mexican mafia friends can keep up their domestic terror business. The reason guards and cops have to be on edge is who they are dealing with."

That comment draws this from Rick Abrams: "I commend your psychic powers. With people like you, we don't need juries. We go from having a cellphone to extreme punishment — and people worry about Sharia law coming to the U.S."

Jimmy-boy writes: "Visits are behind glass. ... It's impossible to smuggle anything unless you can defy the laws of physics and pass a phone through 3 inches of glass."

Scotty writes: "Unfortunate, but ... he should not have mouthed off. Lesson learned."

To which Seamusscott replies: "Are you insane? No ... you are probably a Deputy yourself. ... Since when does a smart mouth warrant a near-deadly beating?"

And TaterGirl writes: "So that warrants being beat down by the cops? That's absurd. Can't smuggle phones in anyway as the visits are behind glass. The cops should be fired, plain and simple."

And finally, Anon_knee_mous writes: "What the ACLU says is all fine and dandy, but what is Sheriff Lee Baca doing to handle these cases? If the deputies with complaints against them are still there, there needs to be a class-action suit against the Sheriff's Department and criminal charges brought to the offending officers. This is plain, outright insanity."

Wealthy Firefighters

Our story about the wealthy El Segundo fireman arrested and accused of shoplifting $375 worth of electronics gear from Costco put a spotlight on the issue of pay for firefighters ("Rich Fireman Named in Shoplifting," by Paul Teetor, May 27). Fireman Michael Archambault and other members of the El Segundo department are paid, on average, $210,000 annually.

Fritz writes: "If Mulholland were alive today, he'd ditch stealing real estate and get himself a plum firefighter's job. In our post-9/11 world, firefighters were granted a degree of moral authority that they have uniformly squandered with their pettiness and greed (at least in SoCal)."

Josephine Pryde writes: "These firefighters love to play the hero card but time is running out on them. Good job, L.A. Weekly, for drawing attention to these entitled exemplifiers of everything wrong with our system."

Public Safety Project writes: "It used to be that government employees had job security and reasonable benefits in exchange for somewhat lower pay than the private sector. But now, after the passage of the California state laws in 1968 and the 1970s that allowed local and state government employees to unionize and engage in collective bargaining with the politicians they helped elect, government employees have it all — civil service job security, superior salaries, benefits and pensions compared to the private sector, and a culture of entitlement where they are the royal family and they treat everyone else as the peasants who must pay for their every demand, no matter how unreasonable and unsustainable."

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