LA County Jail LASD

Dangerous Jails – Part 6 – What Really Happened to Henry?


When we last left 59-year-old Henry Reid,
(the former director of UCLA’s Willed Body Parts program who was convicted of having sold some of the university’s donated cadavers for profit) was in Men’s Central Jail, waiting to be transferred to North Kern State Prison at Delano for “reception” and then on to whichever California state prison where he would finish serving his twenty-six month sentence.

Instead, last Thursday evening, his sister, Patricia Vetter, got a call from a sobbing Henry who said he was naked, that his clothes and glasses had been taken from him, that he had been placed in a “suicide vest,” and that he was to be transferred to the section of CJ where the “criminally insane” were kept, and that he would not be permitted visits or phone calls for the next six months.

When she could not get in to see her brother, and could get no information about what in the world had happened, Vetter began to panic. Her 6′ 5″ brother had no mental problems, only high blood pressure, she said. And despite his one-time spate of admitted illegality, he was a big and gentle man who had spent most of his working life serving honorably in such professions as fireman, paramedic, embalmer, and grief counselor.

Three hours after that first call, Vetter did succeed in getting one of the jail’s watch commanders to go to check on Henry. When she spoke again to the watch commander, he confirmed that Henry was indeed naked, but the deputy said he had managed to get Reid’s clothes returned to him. So at least that was something.

Still no word on what was wrong, and why Henry Reid was being restricted from contact with his family. Maddeninly, different watch commanders told her different things. One told Vetter that her brother was in “the hole, for extreme discipline” and would not be out for months.

After four frantic days, and multiple phone calls to whomever Vetter could find—including a jail psychiatrist whom Vetter’s psychiatrist husband knew professionally—the psychiatrist called back and said he had seen Reid and he was alright. Even better, the shrink, together with Reid’s attorney, was able to pull some strings, and got Reid permission to make a phone call….at which point, some of the real story began to come out.

Henry Reid was not in the psychiatric unit, nor was he in the hole, or being disciplined. Nor was he ever. He was in a protective custody unit, where high profile prisoners are held. Or as a friend of mine who volunteered to check on Reid put it, he’s in “highest security—where OJ was.”

It appeared that a guard, or guards, had simply been tormenting him when they took away his glasses and his clothes, and allegedly told him the story about being sent for six months to a unit for “the criminally insane.”

In his phone call to his sister, Henry said that while he could not tell her everything until he was away from jail and back at prison on a non-LA-County-jail phone.

Until then, here is what Vetter said her brother told her on the phone about his jail experience on Thursday night.

Besides taking away his eye glasses and clothes, telling him that he would be locked away for a minimum of 6 months in an isolation unit for the criminally insane, at one point before he got his clothing back they had chained him up, hands behind his back and shackled him to a wall. Then they put a tray of food on the floor with no utensils, implying he would have to kneel and hunch over to the ground and eat it with his mouth like a dog. But he was chained too tightly to the wall to reach it anyway. He said he was actually really hungry but luckily he later got chained up to some other inmate who had pocketed some cookies in his shirt and fed them to Henry.

So is this true? Would a sheriff’s deputy working in the LA County jail system
physically humiliate and emotionally torment some nearly 60-year-old jail inmate in this manner for no discernible reason?

I have heard a great many bad tales from this jail over the years, some worse than this one. Nearly all of them impossible to verify one way or the other.

But perhaps Henry Reid’s story is an exception.

If the incidents are exaggerated, we will all be relieved. But if Reid—a person with resources and a family unafraid of the system and determined to protect him—was still treated the way his sister describes it, we need to know. We really, really do.


  • Reid is lucky he has some juice or who knows what his fate might have been. When your on the shit-list your going to pay, one way or the other. LACJ is a perverse gladiator school where younger officers are tested for their toughness, perversity, and ability to keep their mouths shut no matter what they witness.
    Years ago as a kid there I witnessed a black inmate, who didn’t get out of the shower fast enough, and back talked a guard while he had soap all over his face.
    The young guard had to prove himself in front of other officers so he screamed a bunch of racial epithets at the soapy faced inmate and hit him in the head with his baton till the guy dropped.
    Other guards helped drag the wet soapy naked man down the hall and into a special room where the beat his ass unconscious.
    It’s a sick culture there at LACJ and the sooner Reid is transferred to a state prison the better off he’ll be.

  • things like this happen all the time daily you just don’t hear about them, i would here people screaming down the hall getting beat by multiple officers, forget talking back that was a deffinet blow to the head or worse i was with held food for not moving quick enough.the only people i was worried about in jail was the officers.

  • We already knew things like this were going on in California jails. This is just the latest story to come to light. The question is, are we upset enough to do anything about it?

  • The question is: What CAN we do about it?

    And what about the majority of inmates suffering gross mistreatment who have no voice on the outside? This is an ongoing horror in our own backyard. This type of action falls under the historical category of crimes against humanity, and these guards, drunk on arrogance, have NO accountability.

  • Let’s hope Don Quixote shares his stories about the blacks he met in county jail, except Don Q refers to blacks as mayates when recounting his cholo stories from the “pinta” (that’s jail for the gavachos).

  • What makes this person any different that all the other imates? Why the publicity for this inmate? we don’t hear about joe schmo all the time. Is this to gain sympathy? Is it to help release him, which he should not because he commited the crime, he even admited to it. And how do we know that the sources are true? Is that really his sister? just a few questions one should think about.

  • i witnessed a beating by TWO LASD deputies in LACJ in late july of 09′. a deputy “REID” and an unknown young and very attractive blonde female deputy slapped the living shit of a boy no older than 19 or 20. they then cuffed him to a bench while the incoming inmates laughed and jeered at him.

    granted this boy was being mouthy and sealed his fate by taking back. but deputy REID should have stopped after the 5th booming slap on the face. he could have stopped after the boy started crying. but he HAD TO impress the hot blonde by bringing her in on the action. she went on to slap him 6 more times.

    these people are nothing more than racists, and cowards that were bullied during their formative years. this is nothing but revenge for having miserable realities and childhoods for these loser prison guards.

    i hope to God someone important is reading this or can relay this to someone of importance. the LOS ANGELES SHERIFFS’ DEPARTMENT is an evil entity; they are nothing more than trashmen and henchmen for judges in this county.

    on july 29th 2009 between the hours of midnight and 3 in the morning a boy was REPEATEDLY GANG RAPED in the bathroom of 9200R in the men’s central jail. the deputies in charge who beat up an epileptic inmate who knocked on the door to ask for his medication around 5AM, allowed this to happen.

    how could female deputies be allowed in the showers, let alone be allowed to poke fun of certain inmates with physical imperfections? these people are sick and should be stopped.

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