LA Sheriff Candidate Asked About ‘Gang’ Tattoo at Debate

Tattooed, gang-like cliques inside the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department have turn out to be an problem in the approaching election for sheriff in the wake of an NBC report about an alleged group named the Banditos that is accused of pressuring female trainees for intercourse.

At a debate Sunday night, sheriff’s candidate Paul Tanaka was pressed on whether or not he had been tattooed whilst a member of a now-defunct clique known as the Vikings. Tanaka, a retired undersheriff, admitted receiving the ink far more than twenty years ago but said his affiliation with the group went no additional.

“Yes, I do have a tattoo. No, I never ever was component of a gang,” mentioned Tanaka, according to the L.A. Instances. “It did not grow to be sinister right up until many years later on. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten a various tattoo.”

The Sheriff’s Department has been accused for decades of not acting aggressively sufficient to deal with secret groups within the division, which includes the so-known as “300 Club” and the “Jump Out Boys.”

A March 28 report by NBC Information in depth a lawsuit by Deputy Guadalupe Lopez charging that one this kind of alleged group, the Banditos, demanded sexual favors from female trainees at the East L.A. Sheriff’s Station in Boyle Heights. Lopez claimed in her complaint that the Banditos sported numbered tattoos of a skeleton with a sombrero, and that male deputies at the station retaliated against her for reporting objectionable habits by slamming her into a wall, attempting to run her off the road and placing a dead rat below her vehicle.

Image: A ratCourtesy Gregory Smith

Deputy Guadalupe Lopez alleges that someone placed a dead rat under her vehicle as retaliation for complaining about objectionable behavior.

On Saturday, the day just before the debate, a group of female deputies at the East L.A. station launched a statement disputing the allegations in the Lopez suit, including the declare that girls have been expected to supply sex in order to turn into full-fledged deputies.

“The claims have impacted us on a specialist and individual level,” the statement explained. “Our track record as female pros, wives, mothers, and so on. is unjustly questioned as a outcome of her claims.”

In response, Lopez’s attorney stood by the allegations in the suit and mentioned his consumer in no way alleged that “the bulk of female deputies assigned to East Los Angeles station have been involved in any sexual activities with their male counterparts.” Gregory Smith also mentioned that a female sergeant at the station filed a separate gender harassment suit prior to Lopez’s suit, and that discipline was handed down soon after an investigation of Lopez’s costs.

“As a outcome of the complaint, a quantity of the Banditos were subjected to discipline by the department,” Smith said.

A supply familiar with the Banditos investigation advised NBC Information that the division disciplined more than 10 employees at the East L.A. station, most of them deputies, for alleged mistreatment of Lopez and inappropriate workplace perform. The source extra that the department did not substantiate the core allegations, including the charge that a clique of deputies at the station coerced female probationers into possessing intercourse.

When informed of the Lopez suit, interim Los Angeles County Sheriff John L. Scott expressed concern “about the adverse perception of monikers, tattoos, or any form of hazing,“ and stated he would “not tolerate carry out contrary to our division policies and the law.”

Very first published April 7 2014, 3:27 PM

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