The ACLU today officially asked District Attorney Steve Cooley to leash his hounds and halt the prosecution of a man who was allegedly beaten by sheriff's deputies in plain view of the ACLU jail monitor.
On January 24, Esther Lim of the ACLU, one of a select few who have regular access inside the jails, says she saw a pair of deputies at the Twin Towers jail savagely stomp inmate James Parker, shouting, “Stop resisting,” and “Stop fighting,” as Parker lay limp on the floor.
As previously reported by LA Weekly, L.A. County jails have a boatload of issues concerning allegations of inmate abuse.
In its letter to Cooley, the ACLU is not asking that the charges against Parker be dismissed, only that Cooley delay the prosecution until both the L.A. Sheriff's Department and the FBI first have a chance to wrap up their investigations into the incident.
“Racing to hold [Parker's] trial before the investigations are complete,” wrote the ACLU's Margaret Winter and Peter Eliasberg, “creates the impression that your office is more interested in convicting Mr. Parker and exonerating the deputies than it is in ensuring a fair trial and figuring out the truth of what happened on January 24, 2011 at Twin Towers.”
While the ACLU contends that Parker was beaten senseless right in front of Lim and others, the widely reported sheriff's log offers a different point of view. In it, deputies claim that Parker tried to beat them up and would not stop until he was subdued with a Taser.
Both the sheriff and the FBI have said they are investigating the allegations of abuse, made by Lim, and corroborated by another witness. An FBI spokeswoman has said that the bureau's findings will be forwarded to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.