On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we speak with southern California journalist Cerise Castle on how she wrote an extensive history of organized gangs within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department that have existed for the past 50 years. From groups that embrace neo-Nazi symbolism to gangs where participants have to kill someone in order to join, here’s a crash course into the violent and bloody world of gangs within local law enforcement.
From Castle’s investigation:
There are at least 18 gangs within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Officials at various government agencies, including the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County District Attorney, the California Senate Senate Subcommittee on Police Officer Conduct, and the United States Commission on Civil Rights have heard testimony on the violence inflicted on communities at the hands of deputy gangs for decades. And yet, there have not been any internal investigations or significant policy changes to address the issue. Deputy gangs have killed at least 19 people, all of whom were men of color. At least four of them had a mental illness. Los Angeles County keeps a list of lawsuits related to the deputy gangs. Litigation related to these cases has cost the County just over $100 million over the past 30 years.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has embraced deputy gang culture for the past 50 years. Although the names have changed, these groups all participate in the systematic terrorization of the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.
More Info: Cerise Castle on Twitter and A Tradition of Violence: The History of Deputy Gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.