FBI Investigates Gangs in LA—of Deputies

'Los Angeles Times' reports on tattooed groups within the sheriff's department
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2019 1:45 PM CDT
This FBI Investigation of Gangs Has a Twist

The FBI is investigating gang-like groups in Los Angeles—and in a twist, the alleged members are sheriff's deputies. The probe focuses on tattooed groups within the LA County Sheriff's Department with names such as the Spartans, the Regulators, the Reapers, and the Banditos, reports the Los Angeles Times. The latter group is based in East Los Angeles, and members have matching tattoos of a skeleton with a sombrero and pistol. Other deputies say the Banditos operate much like a gang and run key aspects of sheriff's department operations in their area. One of the most jarring details: They allege that Bandito leaders retaliate against others by deliberately failing to send backup on dangerous calls, per the Times.

Earlier this year, non-members filed a formal complaint with the county after they say members of the Banditos assaulted them at a house party. In the alleged assault case, deputies David Silverio, Gregory Rodriguez, Rafael Munoz, and Sgt. Mike Hernandez were named in a criminal case referred to the district attorney's office last month, but no charges have been filed. Department groups that violate the rights of others were banned under a policy announced last month. At the same time, the county paid $7 million to the family of a man fatally shot during a run-in with two deputies from Compton Station, who had matching skull tattoos, per NBC Los Angeles. (The FBI arrested a bunch of LA County deputies in 2013.)

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