Correctional ocers should strike inmates’ heads only as a matter o last resort. But in the Los Angeles County Jails, that is not the reality.As explained below, there is clearevidence that the Los AngelesCounty Sheri’s Department(“LASD”) deputies have used headstrikes with alarming regularity inthe Los Angeles County jails. Inmany o those incidents the headstrikes have caused signicantinjuries. The manner and requencyo such head strikes strongly suggestsan inappropriate use o orce bydeputies.In recent years, Los Angeles Sheri’sdeputies have stomped on inmates’heads, even ater shackling thoseinmates’ hands. They have bashedinmates’ aces into concrete walls.They have ractured inmates’ acialbones – noses, jaws, cheekbones, oreye sockets. The ACLU is aware o least 11 inmates who have had theiracial bones broken by LASD deputies in the past three years. One inmate has lost vision in one eye. Others haveundergone surgery. Sixty-our people have made sworn statements describing incidents in which deputies targeted inmates’ heads orattack between 2009 and 2012. These are not mere unsubstantiated complaints.
The ACLU has corroborated 12o these allegations o head injuries with secondary evidence, such as medical records, photographic documentation,or civilian reports. In several other instances, inmate witnesses have corroborated reports o deputy-on-inmatehead strikes.I history is any guide, LASD will respond to this evidence by attacking the ACLU
and blaming inmates. They willargue that inmates’ accounts o deputies using unjustied orce are alse,
and they will allege that inmates were
Fity-our declarants are inmates or ormer inmates; one is a visitor to MCJ; our declarants are civilian eyewitnesses; ve areinmates or ormer inmates who witnessed deputies striking other inmates’ heads.
The day ater the ACLU published its September 2011 report on deputy on inmate abuse in the jails, which included accountso deputies beating inmates rom two jails chaplains, a volunteer jail tutor, and a jail monitor, Sheri Baca stated, “[t]ruth is hardto nd i you’re in a rush, and the ACLU obviously elt a rush to get the report out. They don’t have any substantial proo otherthan accusations,” available athttp://www.scpr.org/news/2011/09/29/29150/la-sheri-baca-dismisses-aclu-report-jail-brutali/.
In September 2011, an LASD spokesperson responded to a third ACLU report detailing scores o incidents o deputy oninmate abuse by saying that department thoroughly investigated all complaints o abuse that it received and that most wereunsubstantiated. See Jennier Medina, Report Details Wide Abuse in Los Angeles Jail System, NY Times, Sept. 28, 2011, available athttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/us/aclu-suit-details-wide-abuse-in-los-angeles-jail-system.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp.In May 2010, the LASD spokesperson responded to an ACLU report containing numerous sworn statements o deputy abuseo inmates by stating that they were “absolutely alse.” See ACLU: LA County jail guards perpetuate violence, KPCC Radio, May5, 2010 available at http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/05/05/14828/aclu-says-la-county-jail-guard-perpetuate-violence/.