A federal judge lambasted a “corrupt culture” within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as he sentenced six current and former members of the department to prison for obstructing a federal investigation into abuse and corruption at the county jails, the Los Angeles Times reports. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said evidence showed there were “significant problems” within the department, including an “us-versus-them mentality,” routine cover-up of inmate abuse, and an “unwritten code” taught to new jail deputies that any inmate who fought a guard should end up in the hospital.
While the six defendants were not accused of excessive force, they were complicit in misconduct by trying to thwart a federal investigation into abuses at the jails, Anderson said. Jurors convicted the sheriff’s officials this year of conspiring to impede a grand jury investigation by keeping an inmate informant hidden from his FBI handlers, dissuading witnesses from cooperating and trying to intimidate a federal agent. “They all took actions to shield these dirty deputies from facing the consequence of their crimes,” Anderson said.