Hear the Stunning Allegations of Abuse By Two More Indicted Deputies
Two more L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies were indicted Thursday after an ongoing investigation revealed they allegedly punched and kicked a handcuffed and shackled inmate, sprayed him with tear gas and hit him with a flashlight. “I had stitches in my head, my lower back was hurting, I was just sore all over,” Brett Phillips told KPCC. “I still go the scars on my wrists from [the handcuffs].”
Phillips, who says he has bipolar schizophrenia, was at Men’s Central Jail in downtown over a probation violation in early 2009. He was shocked not only to see video from the FBI of himself on a gurney, nearly unconscious, but that the Sheriff’s Department tried unsuccessfully to have him charged with assault on a deputy.
The indictments Thursday makes it 20 current and former sheriff’s deputies charged with corruption and civil-rights offenses, The Associated Press reports. It all stems from a federal investigation of jail abuses in L.A. County, which hung over Sheriff Lee Baca over the past year before he retired last week.
The federal grand jury indictment against Joey Aguiar, 26, and Mariano Ramirez, 38, not only alleges physical abuse, but that the two deputies falsified reports saying Phillips kicked and tried to head-butt Aguiar— Philips says he only threw milk cartons at a deputy, but didn’t hit him.
Interim Sheriff John Scott said reform is a top priority.
“Although today's indictment should not be taken as a reflection of the outstanding work that the overwhelming majority of deputies perform every day, it does underscore that everyone in this department should and will be held accountable for their actions,” he said. “Abuse of authority will not be tolerated.”
The now 42-year-old Phillips didn’t know a chaplain had reported the incident, nor that the deputies had been indicted until KPCC told him. You can hear the interview with Philips over at KPCC.
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