The visitor's area of Men's Central Jail near Downtown LA is looking more and more like a scary place.
Earlier this year, we brought you the story of Gabriel Carrillo, who claims he was visiting his younger brother when he was thrown into a refrigerator and beaten by sheriff's deputies in a little break room.
Now, there's Leocadio Figueroa, and his tale is eerily similar and just as chilling.
Figueroa says he dropped by Men's Central Jail one day in July 2010 to visit his younger brother, a U.S. Army war veteran, who was locked up. While Figueroa waited his turn in the visitor's area, he asked a sheriff's deputy to see the Watch Commander.
And according to Figueroa, that simple question was all it took.
Without any warning, claims Figueroa in a federal lawsuit against LA County, the deputy “lunged” at Figueroa, tackling him to the ground. His face jammed against the floor, Figueroa says, the deputy handcuffed him and beat him, all the while shouting, “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!”
Figueroa says that at one point he was taken into the break room and thrown into a refrigerator – just as Carrillo claimed. Figueroa says he was not resisting or fighting back.
The ACLU, the only outside organization with regular access inside the jails, maintains that deputies will shout, “Stop resisting,” as a way to cover their tracks and justify their use of violence, even though the inmate or visitor may not actually be resisting.
Such was the case with inmate James Parker. On January 24, Esther Lim of the ACLU says she saw a pair of deputies at the Twin Towers jail savagely stomp Parker, shouting, “Stop resisting,” and “Stop fighting,” as Parker lay limp on the floor.
In his lawsuit, Figueroa claims that the deputy broke his left arm, which required several surgeries. He has been unable to work since his trip to visit his brother in jail.