Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has launched a comprehensive inquiry into secret deputy cliques and is looking into whether gangs that condone illicit behavior are operating within his ranks, he said Thursday.
McDonnell’s announcement at a meeting of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission comes two weeks after allegations surfaced that as many as 20 deputies at the Compton Station have matching tattoos featuring a skeleton holding a rifle.
A Compton deputy recently admitted under oath that he was inked with the skull logo in June 2016, about two months before he was involved in a fatal shooting.
Watchdogs said the revelations were alarming given the department’s long history of secret societies that promoted excessive force and enforced a code of silence.
The Sheriff wants the deputy unions to join in the “examination” of the issue. He stopped short of calling his effort an investigation. His confusion about the matter is understandable since he’s in charge of one of the biggest and most racist police organizations in the nation.