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Two Deputies Take Deals on Fed Jail Beatings Indictment & Abruptly Change Stories – UPDATED


One of the largest difficulties in proving cases of brutality by deputies toward inmates
in LA County’s troubled jail system is that, absent a camera, it is the word of two or three or four deputies against that of an inmate.

Even if the inmate is telling the truth, and has injuries that support his story, the deputies have traditionally almost always unfailing supported each other, going so far as to accuse the inmate of criminal wrong doing to support their reports.

Such was the case with the four deputies and one sergeant who were indicted in December 2013 for the cluster of alleged beat downs and brutalizing of visitors to Men’s Central Jail. The case is set to come to trial later this month.

But while the case (known, for short, as U.S. v. Gonzalez) involves accusations of brutality in the LA County jail system, as mentioned above, the alleged abuse was not visited on inmates, but on family and friends who came to visit jail inmates. And it wasn’t one instance, but a series of incidents that involved the same five people, four deputies and one supervisor.

The events described in the charges include the alleged abuse of five different visitors to the jail, in one instance, the bizarre manhandling of an Austrian consular official who, by the way, had diplomatic immunity.

Prominent among the incidents named is the the beating of Gabriel Carrillo, allegedly when Carrillo was in handcuffs and not resisting the officers, after Carrillo had come to the jail to visit his brother.

(Arresting officers had also reportedly beat up the brother. But that’s another story altogether.)

The indictment involving the visitors’ center differs from the other federal indictments alleging abuse inside the LA County jails in that there were civilian witnesses to at least some part of the defendants’ actions. Recently, however, the case gained a pair of very large advantages when two of the indicted deputies abruptly changed their descriptions of events in the process of making deals with the feds.

Joel Rubin at the LA Times broke the story of the deputies’ deals, which are thought to be in return for likely no prison time (although the judge could modify the no-prison part of the deal).

Here’ s clip from Rubin’s story:

Under the terms of the agreement he signed last week, Deputy Noel Womack gave prosecutors a new version of the violent 2011 encounter in a windowless, secluded room in the Men’s Central Jail facility. Deputies, he said, beat the jail visitor even though the man was handcuffed and not resisting as he was held on the floor, according to a copy of the agreement reviewed by The Times.

Womack has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge that he lied to FBI agents during an interview last month when he told them he did not know if the visitor was handcuffed, the agreement said. He admitted to lying again when he told the agents his supervisor had ordered him to punch the man and a third time when he said the strikes he inflicted on the man had been necessary, the agreement said.

The second deputy, Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, entered a guilty plea earlier this year, court records show. The agreement between prosecutors and Zunggeemoge, who faced several allegations of abuse and dishonesty, was sealed by U.S. District Judge George H. King, keeping its details secret.

[SNIP]

The plea agreements mark the first time in the last two decades that a sheriff’s deputy has been convicted in federal court of crimes related to excessive force, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Last year, the office secured convictions against seven sheriff’s officials accused of obstructing the FBI’s investigation into claims of brutality by deputies in the jail.

A Rubin wrote, one of the deals is sealed by the court, but there is some paperwork for the other indicating the changes in the deputies’ stories, in particular the admission that Carrillo was, in fact, handcuffed and non-resistant.

This should be a very interesting trial, involving as it does what the indictment describes as a supervisor—namely former LASD Sergeant Eric Gonzalez—who allegedly created an environment where abuse could flourish. Gonzalez, states the indictment, “would reprimand deputy sheriffs he supervised for not using force on visitors to the MCJ if those visitors had supposedly ‘disrespected'” the deputies through words or conduct.

Gonzalez would also reportedly “encourage” deputies under his command “to make unlawful arrests, engage in unreasonable searches and seizures, and engage in excessive force.”

He allegedly “praised overly-aggressive behavior” by his deputies, and “criticized” those who were not aggressive enough.

Again, these were not inmates against whom the behavior was aimed, but visitors.

And, although it has no real legal bearing on the case, it might be instructive to note that, on Thursday of last week, Carillo’s lawyer, Ron Kaye, announced that his client is being paid nearly $1.2 million by the county to settle his civil rights lawsuit.


NOTE: This story was updated on Monday afternoon, June 1, 2015.

47 Comments

  • The wheels have just fallen off this chariot and they’re riding on the axles! Gonzales is burnt toast ’cause the AUSA is going to focus on him like a laser. Don’t be surprised if the others beg for a deal because they know it’s all over but the crying. Gonzales was just another Tanaka thug working the Gray Zone, while his lieutenants and captain gave him the smile and wink. Gonzales’ history is going to catch up with him, big time. The lieutenants and captain condoned this crap, wonder if they are next? Hey Paul, you proud? This environment was all of your making, it’s what you encouraged. Think of all the people whose career you destroyed, you know, the folks who never would have tolerated this type of activity. You tossed them to the cornfields and replaced them with your “hand selected” crew who did your bidding. Remember telling the troops, “If you have any problems with your supervisors, you contact me directly,” and that they did. The Feds aren’t done, they’re just starting. Standby for their next volley, I hear it’s going to be a doozy.

  • @Sachamoe….Wow, no joke re: feds just starting on these jail, ICIB folks. What is one of the most important move an investigator does: lock a witness, victim and subject into a statement. This isn’t looking good for those involved at all.

  • So, deputies who admit to excessive force/lying about in abuse of a jail visitor are to receive no prison time recommended, yet the first seven deputies convicted of obstruction, not actual inmate abuse, were recommended for prison? That is the crux of what is so infuriating about this case – no equity or sense of the relative weight of the various charges. It has the appearance that it’s relatively OK to beat up innocent people, but don’t be questioning the FBI/DOJ. Not even when they blow their own cover by giving an all-too-traceable cell into the hands of someone completely unreliable.

  • To all of the eight thousand plus deputies who pay dues to ALADS, you should be aware that “tough talking, bully type” deputies (now remorseful cry babies ) get high priced Attorneys paid for by you.

    You ( hard working deputies) in turn, get to go to Raging Waters. What a deal!

  • @Sachamoe – “Hey Paul” -“This environment was all of your making, it’s what you encouraged. Think of all the people whose career you destroyed, you know, the folks who never would have tolerated this type of activity”

    Sadly so many ethical employees and their careers, were destroyed by Tanaka and his blind followers.

    Law enforcement is a public trust entity – and that trust must be earned and maintained by the LASD. Unfortunately, the LASD is operating “business as usual”. The FBI and the US Attorney’s office truly has their work cut out for them.

    This is definitely NOT the department I hired onto….

  • The raise that deputies were so desperately seeking went to the newest millionaire/victim > Gabriel Carrillo.

    This was decided by the same group who will determine your worth in current negotiations…County of Los Angeles. Cheers.

  • The back blast and current headlines are counter productive to recruit top notch candidates to join LASD. Can you blame them?

    I’ll give this mess of a department twenty years before this latest scandal is not relevant. Truly Sad.

  • I came on in PJP last year and I never heard of a big time scandal during his tenure. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve heard stories about deputies rolling out to Isle Vista and reminding the characters how to behave. Other than that….nothing.
    On Sherman Block’s watch was the Narco (Majors) and of course the infamous Pandora Box fiasco on Baca’s watch.
    The true test of time and respect is whether or not subordinates under any Police Chief or Sheriff works within the confines of Policy, Procedure and Protocol. Hoping things work out for the “New Sheriff in Town”……. Only time and respect of his subordinates will tell.

  • Wouldn’t it be Poetic Justice that the seven convicted criminal Sheriff Deputies be sentenced to the same incarceration facility as the inmates that were wronged ?

    It seems the boys from Internal Affairs would have been investigating these cases as well and knew something about them…..hmmmm….

    Go Federal Gov’t.

  • @Wally Cleaver, I have two sons that I directed away from LASD because of Tanaka and his cutthroats, to other agencies. One was just promoted to sergeant and is doing very well. I have directed many others away from my organization because of what Tanaka and Baca along with a host of other yes men/women have done to shipwreck a great department. It will be twenty years or more before LASD is purged of the slime that is currently entrenched. Sheriff McDonnell have left the same unethical fools on the 4th Floor and 8th Floor doing the same stuff to the same people. He needs to dump Tyler ASAP as well as many other Tanaka loyalists and start promoting people of character.

  • #9 I have watched your comments about the 7. You get very excited, almost giddy about the trouble these deputies are in. You are one sick person!! You have a lot riding on this case and must be one of the “good ole Fed boys” that lied and cheated their way to a conviction. There is always “Poetic Justice” and you will get yours too!

  • #9, don’t get all excited yet. The seven were sentenced last year but are still free. Actual freedom trumps sham convictions. And, they would only be potentially incarcerated this fall, a year afterward. If these were slam dunk convictions, they would be in the appeal process while in prison. Somebody in the justice system has serious, justified questions about all this.

  • Some of the Convicted Criminals are in a excellent position to tell stories about their investigations into dirty deputies and brass for reduced sentences. After all, this is what they were paid to investigate while assigned to Internal Affairs.

    Don’t be surprised if some of these people are squealing on things they know to save their asses from incarceration. Big difference between Fed time and a little time in Bridgeport jail or some other unknown hole in the wall where nobody goes.

    The appeals waiting time are a great time to cut a deal ….lol All these guys are stand up guys, right ???

  • Hey Just Observing,
    What gives? Here you are in #13 “educating” us that there’s a difference between fed. “prison” time and “jail” time. Wow. What a difference a couple of weeks make. Weren’t you the brainiac who was telling us, via a dictionary definition, that there was no difference? You know, after some of us (lowly minions) were pointing out the difference between prison and jail? That was you, wasn’t it?
    Do you need me to go back and give you the exact quotes?
    You can’t make this shit up lol.
    You need to STFU. Every time you open your mouth you expose yourself more.
    On second thought, nevermind. Keep posting your bullshit. There’s nothing quite as entertaining as watching you contradict yourself. What’s so hilarious about it is you’re making an ass out of yourself for no other reason than because you previously tried to make yourself look like “The smart guy” in the conversation. And now? Even a bona fide dumbass like me can put you in check for your bullshit.
    I was the dumbest guy on this blog until you showed up. Ask anybody who’s been around a while. Thanks for taking the heat off me. Most would of thought it impossible for anyone to make me look good, but you sir have pulled off the damn near impossible.
    Lol.

  • Just Observing is self deprecating he/she even makes me look smart. This is no easy task. Don’t sell yourself short, Oh Well. You are no dummy .

  • Instead of 7, how about 6+1. Lieutenant Thompson was the primary instigator who Rat(ed) on Sexton and Rathbun, when he was given information concerning “dirty deputies” working MCJ.
    Betrayed is too kind a word for Thompson. He pulled many 10-30 acts (many were outright criminal) Lynwood Station in the early 1980’s. No surprises from him.
    The two Sgt’s that lied to and tried to intimidate FBI Agent Marx were being “Felony Stupid” and had the audacity to cackle about it during the debrief.
    Manzo & Smith were collateral damage. Lt.Stevens should have been smarter.
    All of the Imps wanting to please the Emperor. What a friggin joke.

  • What Mr. Gooey does not tell members of 621 if they vote to go to AFSCME, that well over 200 AFSCME International Staffers make over $100,000 per year. The President of AFSCME make $350,000. Per year. Your dues money will be used to support this bloated staff. This does not even included the local staff.

    Throw in the millions the have given Al Sharpton over the years and you just got to ask yourself.. Is AFSCME really looking out for me?

  • Memo Board Says” The two Sgt’s that lied to and tried to intimidate FBI Agent Marx were being “Felony Stupid” and had the audacity to cackle about it during the debrief.”….thats an interesting summation.

    It seems somebody is going to flip among the Convicted Criminals to Try to save incarceration. From your thoughts, 2 of the Deputies might not know anything important, which leaves 5. I think one had an issue with perjury statements ( if I remember correctly) which leaves 4 to choose from.

  • @Memo Board – FINALLY, someone with focus and clarity on all of this. You called out Thompson, the MCJ hero who started his own cigar club and bragged incessantly about his direct connect to the throne room and the little man. And yes, let’s not forget he did the unbelievable, he showed a dirty deputy a confidential memo that exposed the deputy’s illegal activities and named an informant inmate. Bet the people he worked with at MCJ were real proud of Thompson. Makes you wonder what he did to his coworkers at Lynwood and elsewhere.

    Wouldn’t that be something if he were on the Prosecution’s witness list against Tanaka and Carey?

    Mr. Gooey, plz save your displeasure withe ALADS and PPOA for a related story thread. All the union bashing detracts from the Tanaka bashing.

  • Just Observing,

    Oh Well beat me to the punch. Federal indictments go to Federal Prison upon their conviction being “upheld.”

    State inmates, such as the people awaiting trial in a “jail,” go to state prison.

    CJ 101. Smooches.

  • #22,

    It has taken folks the better part of 2 years to understand THOMPSON F#@$ SEXTON and Deputy RATHBUN. The FBI contacts Mr. Sexton with some very scary information and plans THOMPSON et. al have in store for him.

    Sexton says, “damn, I don’t want to be killed by dirty Lynwood Vikings so I need to put them in jail.”

    FBI gets him to give the juicy story.

    They flush the turd and the whistle blower who knew too much. But why Jack why?

    You always flush the guy who does the right thing so he doesn’t come back to be something in life for his righteous act…

    The irony in this tale is that the FBI did not know Mr. Sexton was a little flush in the pockets. They made the assumption, like most of us do when we meet him, he is a dorky white boy with a funny accent.

    Roll Tide kid. Stay in the fight.

  • Jack,
    Just Observing doesn’t need your explanation re: jail vs. prison. He’s got that dictionary definition he referred to.
    I think Just Observing suffers from LBS (Leroy Baca Syndrome).
    LBS is a syndrome that causes a person to believe they’ are dazzling their audience with their bizarre statements and subsequently even more bizarre explanations. Those suffering from LBS do not realize their audience is laughing at them and generally believe the LBS sufferer needs to be on psych. meds.

  • Jack Dawson,

    Check the dictionary ….subject closed. We are on to which of the Convicted Criminals is going to give up dates, people and time. You around for the Sgt Sobel lessons ? Probably not. Ever wonder why certain brass left ? You just do not understand. Keep posting under different names…..lol
    DB101 smooches.

  • Handicapper obviousley you don’t want to lose your perks playing free rounds at the country club I see… Stand bye to stand bye

  • # Oh Well “Just Observing ” suffers from the other LBS (LITTLE BITTY SYNDROME). We all know he can’t measure up!! You need to “stand down” and give it a rest. Why do you care so much about these deputies convictions??? Why Sexton????? What did he do to deserved to be put through 2 trials and maybe a 3rd?? Death threats?? Why did his appointed attorney no show for his Grand Jury testimony?? The only thing he is guilty of is putting his life on the line to help the LASD become a better place. I just read Celeste account of Pandoras Box. Great job Celeste!! There are a lot of twist and turns to this case and there will be more to come. Keep the ink flowing!!

  • I pride myself on asking the tough questions. Here’s a couple toughies.
    How many nights has Ted Sexton tossed and turned over his “friendship” with Leroy Baca? How much does he regret advising his kid to go to work for his “buddy”?
    Ted thought his hookup would allow his kid to go to the big city and be somebody. Ted was going to be so proud. It didn’t work out that way. Ted thought he was greasing the wheels for his kid. Turns out he was leading him into a snake pit.

  • Maybe some of what you say is true, but that has nothing to do with the person James is. If we all had to pay for our parents deeds then we would all have a high price to pay. James is and has always been his own person. The Irony is he came to LA to work at LASD because of his desire to work for the FBI or others elite organizations. He thought going through the “prestigious LASD” was the road to reach his goal. It really doesn’t matter what his fathers relationship was with BACA, what matters is James was good at his job and was trying to change that snake pit. James got in the academy on his own. He didn’t need his fathers help. His education and determination qualified him to get in. Everyone thought because his last name was Sexton, he didn’t deserve his position. Well tell me how many at LASD received their Masters at USC while fighting through 2 federal trials? I rest my case!!!

  • @ 30. You can’t take the misinformed and those who are clueless serious. Hearsay is the best part of their or day.

    I call them the “easy chair” experts. They can solve global warming, drink beer and reminisce on their time of code six and writing citations and then look for a cozy spot for some zzzzzzz’s.

    Let them rant. It’s their only outlet.

  • #30 FOS,
    I don’t know James Sexton.
    Here’s what I do know.
    Baca brought Ted Sexton from Alabama to be a division chief. When’s the last time that happened?
    How long was James Sexton out of the academy before he got to OSJ? What’s the average time on the job of for all of the other personnel who’ve been assigned to OSJ over the last 10 years? Who was the last person to get assigned there with James Sexton’s level of experience?

    Maybe James Sexton is a whiz kid.
    I’m quite sure his daddy being a CHIEF AND BACA’S TIGHT HOMEY didn’t “hurt his chances” of getting to OSJ so soon.

  • Sorry friend of Sexton,
    There were/are a lot of hard workers on the LASD. I have nothing against James but his last name did open doors. Unfortunately it also put him in a tough spot. He had to chose between continuing his cooperation with the FBI by wearing a wire on his dad or not. Ted Sexton was a close confident of Baca’s. The FBI knew it and, I suspect so did James. Personally, even though I don’t care much for Ted, James made the right decision. It is hard to blame the FBI, they were pushing to make the case. That is part of our department culture. They made the cases they could make. So would we! Had James, with all his gifts, just been Deputy Nobody, his progression on the department would have been a little bit slower but no doubt still successful.

    I hope he wins on appeal but I am doubtful. All involved did obstruct justice. By his own admissions, including James.

  • @ Sachamoe. I too, dissuaded my son NOT to come to LASD. Now in Graduate School, he is considering FBI or DEA.
    LASD use to have the nod as the leader among California Police Agencies. Now it is the “no no” head shake as in “not any more”.

    Humble pie will be the only item on the menu for a very long time for the Sheriff’s Department of Los Angeles County.

    “Pride goeth before destruction” and a “haughty spirit before a fall” Sound familiar?

  • Oh well,

    The last sentence of your favorite quote this string applies to you as well.

    But I appreciate the free tickets to water park and paying your second retirement.

    #34, well said and educated post about the greater context of the situation, and not the enjoyment of seeing the destruction of a human being’s life.

  • I’m wondering if the county is figuring all of the recent scandals into the decision making process in negotiating a new contract.

    Say what you want about the unions, good or bad, they are powerless. All bark, no bite. The county is going to give us what ever they want, take it or leave it. If it’s a bad deal, everyone is going to blame ALADS. The fact is ALADS or any union is powerless against the county. What is the union going to say? Give is what we want or else? The county knows We can’t strike. To say a diffrent board or union can effect a diffrent outcome is unrealistic.

  • Can anyone get access to Tanaka’s Federal booking photo and post it? I wish to frame it and place it in my office until someone files a POE.

  • Frank Murphy. Not so, re: ALADS. First of all they should take note to LAPPL who did not take the first piece of crap and scraps from the city of Los Angeles . They held out to get something decent.
    ALADS line the pockets(millions) of certain B. O.S. (Thomas, Kuhl & Solis)with members money…..all for what?. Spare us trying to give ALADS a pass.

    Transparency and accountability has to be proven by them. They have ruined the lives and careers of many deputies.
    How much was the settlement for Sexton with his Attorney Tom O’Brian in the Pandora box caper?

  • MCJ K6G,
    Re # 37
    I take no satisfaction in what has happened to any of the seven. You’re reading me wrong. I’ve said since day one that none of them belong in prison. I think the clusterfuck that was Pandora’s Box is a sad, sad tragedy that never had to happen. My belief is, was, and will always be that the whole thing was nothing more than a bullshit pissing match between Baca/Tanaka and the feds over who the big dog was.
    It was about Baca/Tanaka being too arrogant to realize that if they fuck with feds, they’re going to lose!!!! That a bunch of underlings who were loyal to them had to fall on their swords for the arrogance of Baca/Tanaka is a tragedy.
    That’s why I think the quotes from #35, “Pride goeth before destruction” and a “haught spirit before a fall” hit the nail squarely on the head. Baca retired in disgrace and Tanaka is under indictment.
    Why? Because of their pride, ego and in Tanaka’s case, his “haughty spirit”.
    So there it is.
    Don’t get it twisted. Because I point out how Ted Sexton might be looking back on his friendship with Baca and seeing things in hindsight, that I’m happy about the destruction of the kid’s life, or for that matter, any of the others either.

  • Memo Board, not trying to give ALADS a pass, just saying they are powerless. Department execs and the B.O.S. do not respect ALADS or any union. They will do as they please regardless of what the union’s position is.

  • Department execs and the B.O.S do not respect ALADS, or PPOA for that matter, for a simple reason: they are led by a bunch of gutless wonders who will roll over and beg as long as they are allowed to continue fleecing the membership. The Police Protective League enjoys a better reputation because they have been active in the political arena, not volunteering to be ass gaskets for the Board the way ALADS and PPOA do, but actually being the difference in who wins or not in important races. It helps because they are ONE UNITED union.

    Both ALADS and PPOA exist for only one reason: to further their existence no matter what. They gave up giving a shit about the membership decades ago. They jump in bed eagerly with the B.O.S., then pretend to be mad at them to the membership, but it’s embarrassing. Groveling doesn’t begin to describe contract negotiations. It’s more like the Board dictates the terms of their surrender.

    If anyone has any doubts, watch what happens with the 2016 elections, where two open seats on the Board of Supervisors are up for grabs. The geniuses at ALADS and PPOA have already decided to endorse Janice Hahn in one race, and I’m pretty sure they will find another career hack to endorse in the other one. Then these two anointed supervisors will join the other three and screw both unions with gusto!

    Until there are political consequences for screwing over ALADS and PPOA, the B.O.S, the sheriff, and the DA will continue to do as they please. Maybe ALADS and PPOA can make money endorsing ass gaskets?

  • LATBG……The key phrase that defines any union or association, worth their salt is “ONE UNITED UNION”.

    ALADS board of directors is a social club full of minions and eunuchs . Independent minds (however positive) are a threat to ALADS.

    How about a credit union built for deputies with our dues, that usually goes to those with lip service by the politicians who punk them in the end.

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