This video is a year old (exactly to the day, in fact). So the problem has been identified not just internally, but publicly, for a long time. And still no one has done anything about it. California is a joke.
The FBI is investigating a secret society of tattooed deputies in East Los Angeles dubbed The Banditos, who allegedly use gang-like tactics to recruit young Latino police officers into their fold.
The Banditos, who brand themselves with matching tattoos of a skeleton wearing a sombrero, bandolier and pistol, are accused of beating and harassing young police officers who rebuff them.
Investigators are looking in to claims that new members of the gang are required to commit criminal acts to prove their loyalty, such as planting evidence or writing false incident reports, an LA Times probe suggests.
According to reports from anonymous police officers, the group has a gang-like hierarchy and may even have rival gangs within the department which numbers around 10,000 law enforcement officials.
The anonymous informants claim the Bandito leaders control key elements of the station including choosing whether back up is dispatched during dangerous calls.
The deputies say Bandito leaders also enforce illegal arrest quotas and carry out other forms of harassment. Such is the growth of the gangs that investigators are looking into the possibility of there being rival gangs within the state, including one called the Reapers in South LA, and another dubbed the Spartans and Regulators in the Century Station.
The investigation represents another black eye for a police force plagued with accusations of corruption and criminality, dating back to 2011.
The FBI investigation appears to have been initiated after a group of deputies filed a lawsuit against the county accusing sheriff’s officials of failing to tackle a hostile atmosphere in the East LA station.
In one instance, it is alleged four Banditos harassed a rookie and when other deputies stepped in, were punched, kicked and choked unconscious, the legal files claim.
‘There’s people getting, you know, stomped on… being choked out… it was just crazy, crazy to believe they’re all cops,‘ one deputy told Eyewitness News.
The lawsuit implicates Deputies David Silverio, Gregory Rodriguez and Rafael Munoz, and Sgt. Mike Hernandez, who were placed on paid administrative leave after the incident.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly downplayed the importance of tattooed deputy groups within the LA law enforcement ranks, calling them a ‘cultural norm.’