LA County jail videos: Newly released footage shows violence against inmates

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Saturday, November 11, 2023 6:02AM

LA County jail videos show violent use-of-force against inmates

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Newly released surveillance videos taken inside Los Angeles County jails show violent use-of-force toward inmates.

The videos were unsealed by a federal judge as part of a long running lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

“They’re not following their own policies, and they’re really putting people are at risk of serious injury, or even death with some of these techniques they’re using,” said Corene Kendrick, deputy director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project.

One incident shows an inmate on the ground and deputies applying what is known as the WRAP.

In an interview earlier this year, sheriff’s Cmdr. Larry Alva described the WRAP as a restraint device for “short transportation following a use-of-force incident when somebody is not complying.”

Kendrick described the restraint as something similar to a straitjacket.

In this case, the inmate is on the ground bleeding for several minutes. The ACLU says deputies also put on what is called a spit mask.

“Oftentimes over the person’s face because they say, ‘Well, the person might spit at the officers.’ In this case, the man wasn’t spitting. He was bleeding profusely because he had been struck in the head,” Kendrick said about the inmate in the video.

The department sent out a statement saying the videos represent just six of the millions of interactions that occurred over a two and a half year period, between October 2019 and July 2022. They say there have been policy changes since that time.

“The incidents depicted in these six videos do not reflect the measures now in place to hold deputies accountable when they violate the Department’s stringent use of force policies. Every one of the uses of force incidents depicted in these videos took place during a prior sheriff’s administration,” the statement said.

The statement adds that with the policy changes, force incidents dropped 17% in 2022 and dropped another 20% so far this year. The ACLU says it sometimes takes years to get videos released, so they don’t know if those numbers are accurate.

“The department keeps saying that everything is much better now under the new sheriff, but we haven’t seen that because they haven’t provided those videos to the courts’ experts or to us,” Kendrick said.

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