This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Judge Sentences Deputies Who Covered Up Jail Abuse: 'None Of You Showed The Courage To Do What's Right'
Six deputies were sentenced today to federal prison time for obstructing an FBI investigation into abuse in the jails.
United States District Judge Percy Anderson had stern words for them: "You have embarrassed the sheriff's department. None of you showed the courage to do what's right."
He added, according to CNS, that the deputies didn't show "even the slightest remorse."
The deputies, sergeants and lieutenants were found guilty in July of hiding an informant from the FBI during the agency's 2011 investigation into excessive force at the jails. Additionally, Sgts. Scott Craig and Maricela Long were convicted of threatening an FBI agent with arrest.
Here are the sentences for each of the six defendants, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office:
Gregory Thompson, 54, a now-retired lieutenant who oversaw LASD's Operation Safe Jails Program, was ordered to serve 37 months in prison and to pay a $7,500 fine
Lt. Stephen Leavins, 52, who was assigned to the LASD's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, received a 41-month prison sentence
Gerard Smith, 42, a deputy who was assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program, was ordered to serve 21 months in prison
Mickey Manzo, 34, a deputy who was assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program, received a 24-month sentence
Scott Craig, 50, a sergeant who was assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who was sentenced to 33 months
Maricela Long, 46, a sergeant who assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, received a sentence of two years in federal prison
In 2011, inmate Anthony Brown cooperated with FBI agents to uncover evidence of excessive force at the jails. Former deputy Gilbert Michel accepted bribe money from the undercover feds to smuggle a cell phone to Brown. (Michel pleaded guilty in 2012 to one count of bribery and agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors, and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.)
Once the other deputies discovered Brown's phone in jail, they worked hard to hide Brown from his FBI handlers. Prosecutors said that the deputies would move Brown within the jail system and book him under phony names. Attorneys for the deputies argued that the group was just following orders from then-Sheriff Lee Baca.
That didn't fly with Judge Anderson: "Blind obedience to a corrupt culture has serious consequences."