L.A. County Deputies Accused Of Forcing Inmates To Fight Like Gladiators
In what sounds more like a dystopian horror movie than real life, inmates of L.A. County's Twin Towers Correctional Facilities are alleging that deputies coerced them into “gladiator-style” fights among other atrocities. The FBI is accusing deputies of hindering an investigation into these claims. FBI Special Agent David Dahle testified on Wednesday against six sheriff's deputies charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy. He said that he and other agents had been investigating numerous reports of abuse—“dozens, if not hundreds” of accusations, L.A. Times reports.
Inmates accused deputies of assault, opening up cells so inmates could assault each other, orchestrating and filming fights between inmates and accepting bribes for contraband. There were also reports of visitors being roughed up when attempting to see inmates, but that's another story.
Dahle testified that because inmates are "seen by many as inherently untrustworthy," accusations from inmates against law enforcement are often hard to prove. So, FBI agents decided to use an informant on the inside. They smuggled a phone to inmate Anthony Brown, who was serving a life sentence for armed robbery, to help them with their investigation. The phone was found by deputies, however, during a routine search and deputies learned that Brown had been in touch with the FBI.
In recorded interviews with deputies, Brown told them he had reported over 50 incidents to the FBI.
The defendants then allegedly hid Brown from the FBI by booking him under different names and moving him around. They also threatened an FBI agent working with Brown with an arrest warrant. Not that they could have done anything—federal agents can't be arrested for doing work pertaining to federal cases.
The quotes from the recorded interviews between Brown and the defendants sound kind of like Breaking Bad dialogue, and that they must have occurred at a rusty table in a small concrete room lit with one bare, swinging lightbulb. Like this:
Brown: "You clean your backyard, or you want the feds to clean it? Because if the feds clean it… I'm gonna tell you now, they're gonna clean house. They're gonna come through that front door, M16s and all that."
Deputy Gerard Smith (defendant): "Someone's already here. This is my house." (Pounds on table) "If someone's coming to my house to clean it up, they better…knock on my door first."