LASD

LASD Roundup – Deputy Sentenced in Jail Beating Case, Video Released of Violent 2008 “Cell Extractions,” and PREA Compliance

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

Former LASD Deputy Noel Womack Sentenced to Home Detention in 2008 Jail Beating Case

On Monday, a federal judge sentenced former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Noel Womack to nine months of home detention and 640 hours of community service for his part in a conspiracy to cover up the brutal beating of a handcuffed visitor to Men’s Central Jail in 2011, City News Service reports.

Womack and other deputies pinned the beating on the jail visitor, Gabriel Carrillo, by falsifying official reports, thus causing Carrillo to be criminally charged as the aggressor. Carrillo denied that he had attacked the deputies. Carrillo said he had been handcuffed during the beating, during which deputies reportedly kicked and punched Carrillo’s face and body, and shot OC spray at him. Originally, the deputies involved, including Womack, said that Carrillo tried to attack the officers, leaving them no choice but to take him down. The bogus charges—battery, resisting, and trying to escape arrest—could have resulted in a fourteen-year prison sentence for Carrillo, had the case not been dropped. (Backstory: here, here, and here.)

Deputies assaulted Carrillo after they found he had brought a phone into the visiting area, despite phones being clearly prohibited and worthy of a misdemeanor charge.

US District Judge Dale S. Fischer also sentenced Womack to three years of probation.

Womack’s plea bargain required that he resign from the LASD and never work in law enforcement again. (By the time he testified, Womack had worked for the department for eight and a half years.)

Womack is one of six deputies prosecuted for the Carrillo beating and cover-up. A jury convicted Sgt. Eric Gonzalez and Deputies Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano for their parts in the violence. Womack and another deputy, Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, took plea deals. Their testimony was crucial to the prosecution’s case against the others involved.

Under the terms of his agreement, Womack admitted to lying, and gave the prosecutors a new version of the 2011 encounter. The deputy also agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of lying to federal agents.

The sixth deputy, Byron Dredd, is being retried on a charge of lying to FBI agents after a jury acquitted him of conspiracy and writing a false report.

In 2014, LA County agreed to pay Gabriel Carrillo, represented by attorney Ron Kaye, $1.2 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit brought against the department.


Video of Violent “Cell Extractions” at Men’s Central Jail Released to Public

Thanks to relentless pushing by ABC7 Eyewitness News, and an order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the public now can watch video of a 2008 incident in Men’s Central Jail, in which LA County Sheriff’s deputies forcefully “extracted” inmates from their cells, sending 19 of the 21 inmates to the hospital with fractured limbs, eye sockets, noses, and skulls. (At the same time, although the deputies testified that the inmates attacked them—thus necessitating as many as 20-to 30 blows against certain inmates—-no deputies sustained any injuries, either large or small.)

KCET was first to publish the newly released footage.

Yet it was ABC7 Eyewitness News, led by investigative producer, Lisa Bartley that persuaded the court to release “dozens” of alarming videos pertaining to a federal civil case against Los Angeles County. The ABC7 team pressed for the release “in part because the incident has already cost L.A. County taxpayers millions of dollars in damages and attorney fees – and the costs are still mounting because the case is on appeal,” according to Bartley.

A federal jury awarded a total of $740,000 in what are called “actual damages” to five inmates, and found that 27 Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies were liable for using excessive force when they reportedly shocked, kicked, and repeatedly struck the group of inmates. One inmate, Carlos Flores, lapsed into a coma after blunt trauma to the head, a fractured eye socket, and a possible “strangulation injury.”

The same jury also voted to award punitive damages for actions by the deputies that the jury members deemed “malicious,” “sadistic,” and “reckless.” With the punitive damages, the total damages levied against LASD personnel involved came to $950,000 (plus more than $5 million in legal fees).

US District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall sealed the videos after the county’s attorneys insisted that releasing the footage to the public would negatively impact the county during the appeal process. Earlier this month, the 9th Circuit ordered the nearly decade-old images released, in response to the ABC7 requests, although the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department opposed the release of the footage.

“The public needs to see what happens when we let law enforcement have its way without oversight and accountability mechanisms,” Peter Eliasberg told KCET’s Dina Demetrius.


LASD Not Yet Fully Compliant With Prison Rape Elimination Act

After the 2003 passage of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), it took a commission almost ten years to nail down and approve a set of “zero-tolerance” standards to eliminate rape in state and federal prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, and in community corrections.

Now five years after those standards were established in 2012, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has not yet come into full compliance with PREA, according to a story by KPCC’s Frank Stoltze.

PREA’s standards, meant to prevent sexual assault behind bars, include banning cross-gender strip-searches, installing cameras, “thoroughly” investigating allegations of rape, and keeping juveniles separated physically, and by sight and sound, from adult inmates.

Once the US Department of Justice began enforcing the federal law, the idea was that if states did not pass an audit, or chose to forego it (note: Texas), the would forfeit 5% of their federal prison funding. More importantly, if an inmate if a sexually abused inmate brings a lawsuit against a state, non-compliance with PREA may be viewed as deliberate indifference.

And counties that are found to be out of compliance may also be precluded from receiving federal grants and contracts, face DOJ scrutiny, and experience increased liability costs, according to Just Detention International, an LA-based group hired by the sheriff’s department to assist with implementing the PREA standards.

In September, LASD Deputy Giancarlo Scotti was arrested on two counts of rape and oral copulation, both under color of authority. Scotti allegedly raped two female inmates at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports that this arrest prompted an inquiry into the measures taken by the LASD to prevent rape behind bars.

“There are strong, committed leaders at the Sheriff’s Department who take sexual abuse very seriously, but this case is a chilling reminder of how much more work needs to be done to end this violence,” Lovisa Stannow, Just Detention International’s Executive Director said after Scotti’s arrest.

Approximately 3.5 percent of jail inmates are sexually assaulted by other inmates or guards, according to a federal survey, Stoltze said. That would mean that around 600 inmates in the care of the LASD face assault each year.

The sheriff’s Custody Services Director Karen Dalton says the department is making progress toward its PREA goals, and has set up an anonymous assault hotline for inmates, among other efforts.

The matter of LASD compliance is slated to be addressed Thursday during the sheriff’s civilian oversight commission meeting.

24 Comments

  • And now that you liberals have “exposed” the “brutality” of these deputies, inmates are emboldened to gas deputies, attack deputies, and the real “jail violence” (inmate on inmate) is through the roof. You won’t be happy until deputies are actually killed, and I believe that is coming.

    Nice job.

    • Not one decent cop wants a “lying, crooked, dirty” fellow cop on the force, no more than a clergyman wanting a whore for a wife. Liberals and Conservatives alike, hates scum wearing a badge. Your attempt to “equalize” a “dirty” cop with rising jail violence is weak & totally unacceptable.

    • Had Sgt. Eric Gonzalez been left on the Department he would have gotten a Deputy (and likely more than one) killed. I don’t think it is liberal, or conservative, ideals at play in wanting to remove psychotic Deputies from LASO ranks.

  • Isn’t it awful… These fine, upstanding individuals who end up in jail should be allowed to do what they want. Never mind how they got there. Let them act out their hatred toward LE when they get there. It’s good therapy.

    The jails are out of control. Inmates only understand one language… the one that tells them to just follow the simple rules. Deputies’ tools have been taken away and the inmates know they have the advantage. Liberals love it.

  • CD, you’re spot on about the dirty cop. Reality is, they do get through the hiring process. It’s always been that way. This is not about them. When good cops are assaulted, cutting their career short, no one cares. Ms Walker should investigate the female deputy from north facility, who, mere weeks out of the academy, was brutally attacked and almost raped. No one said a word. Not even a word from the Department.

    Oh, and her attacker? He was “…handcuffed without further incident…”

    • FR, I also agree totally, that whoever righteously assaults a cop, (especially with injuries) is in need of “Boot to Ass” period.

  • Well, well, well, City Dweller. Who do we have here? A stay-at-home, dirty cop investigator? Must have watched Serpico and know all there is to know about “dirty cops.” LOL

    I assume the implication herein is that any time an inmate is forcibly extracted from a cell, blood-thirsty deputies are blatantly committing heinous crimes against innocent, misunderstood, mentally ill people. Again, LOL.

    Maybe you could be placed on a stand by list to be called into one of our facilities when they riot, or when they stab each other over Mexican Mafia-directed “jail politics.”

    Nope, not what you or the liberals want to see. You just want to know how to hang a deputy out to dry.

    By the way, I am making no excuses for truly dirty cops. I’m just pointing out that you are decided not the arbiter of such things. Stay in your lane – being a city dweller – nice and safe, while we watch your back, whether you appreciate it or not.

    • Funny how you assume that you’re the only commentor that is sworn to uphold the law. You can only talk recklessly to someone who isn’t in the game. Big brothers is always around to check little brother. Speaking of cop stories, maybe you should check out “Colors” with Sean Penn and Robert Duvall and learn.

    • Dose of reality, if you want to make this a “blame the liberals” exercise, that is not a very good argument. Odds are the majority of cops are conservative, and card-carrying members of the GOP. It would be too easy to claim all dirty cops are conservatives, so all conservatives support dirty cops – but that is a fallacy, just as you are with liberals supporting jail violence.

  • No one gives any credibility or respect to LASD and other LEO’s for all the years of 1st hand knowledge, hard-knocks learning and shear observational intelligence gathered over the decades of interacting with criminals. Whether it be the folks who study theory in university (often in controlled sanitary environments) and have letters behind their names or the ones who gather their knowledge from sensationalized media stories, they don’t have the benefit of practical experience. Just as Dr. Spock’s theories on child rearing don’t work for “outlier difficult kids” neither do they work for the “outlier adult members of society”.

    News Flash…Most LEO’s don’t get up in the morning and think “let’s go to work, crack some heads and kill somebody” like some apparently think.

  • Just watched the video. Of course it doesn’t look pretty but what other options did they have to get the inmates out, restore order, prevent injury and stop the inmates from destroying the jail? The classification of those inmates tells me they weren’t your low level offender in jail for jay walking either.

    Does the 9th Circuit care about public perception and ramifications of putting this video out there. The have no regard for the danger it presents for staff who work the jails and disrespect images like this stoke amongs the general public? Do they feel it serves the public interest to see public executions? Soldiers killing enemies on the battlefield? Or is this just political activism and bias from the bench. I guess the 9th Circuit might, a big might, not have felt compelled to reverse the lower courts decision if some of the deputies were injured…probably seriously injured by their yardstick.

    The Wackiest Court of the land….

  • And another thing…PREA. There is a California state law that makes engaging in sexual activity while incarcerated a felony. Why are condoms freely handed out to homosexual inmates thereby condoning their breaking of the law. The law is not enforced at all it seems? The inmates can say one day it was consensual and a few days later say it was against their will.

    Don’t hate the players….hate the dysfunctional rules, minefield and game they have to play/navigate everyday.

    • Commenter “Dose of Reality” basically alluded to that with his first post, putting his foot in his mouth with his “Liberals” rant. Concerning the individual deputies mentioned in the feed, the Visiting Room caper is where the most disgust is, compared to the cell extractions.

  • Completely irresponsible of the 9th circuit, but who would expect anything sane to come from them? What I find deceptive about the video is how it provides no context nor explanation for its “alleged” facts. For instance, a quick screen flash stating 19 of 20 inmates went to the hospital. Of course they did, as it is policy for them to be seen after a cell extraction. Also, how does anybody know for a fact, utilizing only the video, that the inmates interviewed in the infirmary, were the actual inmates who were extracted? I have interviewed hundreds of inmates, and the old “I fell off my bunk” statement was always reserved for “inmate on inmate” altercations, primarily regulations, as not to be labeled a snitch. The way it is presented in the video implies the inmates were involved in a cell extraction and then afraid to talk. NOT THE CASE. I’ll bet you a shiny gold belt buckle the tape is eventually discovered to have been edited……by KCET.

  • Let’s see. An old video, relates to PREA and Scotti Giancarlo. No thanks. This article is absolutely the most horrible reporting I’ve ever seen. Was this 2008 video relating to a deputy that violated prea? Absolutely not. This deputy wasn’t at crdf during that time period. Figure it out. Nice try.

  • Nine months of home detention and community service? Please. It is a joke. Can someone from the general public get the same deal for beating a dirty cop? And, you whine about how you are treated unfairly. You guys have such a sweet deal – pension, good salary, strong union, and the benefit of the doubt.

  • Sometimes it just makes better sense to harmlessly bend the rules a little to gain compliance by inducement, rather than reaching straight for all the tools of pain and punishment.
    When inmates are acting up – flushing juice cartons down the toilet and flooding the cell block with feces, it usually means they are bored and craving some attention.
    I believe they could have gotten the inmates to voluntarily clear their cells without using force and without risking serious injury to inmates and jailers and without the subsequent millions of dollars in civil court awards and legal fees.
    For a one-time cost of under a $100, the cells could have been emptied.
    Unlock the cells and place a carton of cigarettes on the other side.

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