Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, is calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to take immediate action in directing the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the reports of a rogue, violent gang of law enforcement officers, who call themselves the “Executioners,” and operate within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
In a letter directed to Garland, Waters wrote: “I write to ask that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) take immediate action to address the reported existence of a rogue, violent gang of law enforcement officials, who call themselves the “Executioners,” operating within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), specifically the LASD Compton station. “…an LASD deputy provided sworn testimony identifying more than a dozen deputies with matching tattoos symbolizing their association with the Executioners gang… Deputies at the LASD Compton Station reportedly “chase ink”, a slang term for a deputy who attempts to win favor with the Executioners by committing violent acts in hopes of receiving the group tattoo denoting gang membership.”
“The gang allegedly sets illegal arrest quotas, threatens and harasses fellow deputies, and holds parties after shootings, called ‘998 parties,’ which are in part a celebration that a new deputy will be inked by the gang,” Waters continued. “The tattoos worn by the police gang reportedly feature Nazi imagery… In disturbing evidence of the violence perpetrated against the Los Angeles community by the LASD gang, the whistleblower identified the two deputies responsible for the death of Andres Guardado, a Gardena, California teenager killed by police on June 18, 2020, as members of the Executioners…The killing of Andres Guardado is not the only example of the LASD’s excessive and brutal tactics in the Los Angeles community. On August 31, 2020, LASD deputies fatally shot Dijon Kizzee in South Los Angeles.”
Waters said that her concerns extended beyond the Sheriff’s Department, but to a troubling pattern of police associating with militant groups nationwide, citing four San Jose police officers who were suspended after participating in a racist Facebook group and an Orange County officer caught wearing patches affiliated with a white supremacist group.
“There exists a clear pattern and practice of LASD deputies affiliating with white supremacist, militant police gangs, with the Executioners being the only the latest example,” Waters asserted. “According to ABC News, right wing extremist police gangs that have operated within LASD and other Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies include: the Executioners, the Vikings, the Regulators, the Jump Out Boys, the 3000 Boys and the Banditos. Since the 1990s, there have been dozens of cases…related to [LASD deputy gangs that have led to nearly $55 million in court judgements and settlements.”
Attorney John Sweeney—who won a $7 million lawsuit against L.A. County for the family of Donta Taylor, a 31-year-old Black man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in 2016—has been trying to raise the alarm on violent cliques in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for decades.
“These deputy gangs do exist. My goal was to expose it to the world,” Sweeney told L.A. Focus in March. “And I knew that some decent people within the sheriff’s department would come forth and corroborate what I’ve been trying to prove for years.”
Despite numerous allegations of deputy gangs revealed in the CBS report and various investigations, Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly denied the extent of a gang problem within the department, but at the same time says he has zero tolerance for deputy gangs.
“Any employee who aligns with a clique or subgroup, which engages in any form of misconduct, will be held accountable. I do not want you joining these alleged cliques anymore,” Villanueva said in a video on the LASD’s website.
His comments drew sharp rebuffs from Attorney Carl Douglas, who told L.A. Focus earlier this year that Villanueva is deliberately misleading the public about the troubling pattern within the L.A. County Sheriff’s and its well-documented deputy gang problem.
“Anyone who denies the existence of gangs within the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, like Alex Villanueva, is presenting false information to the public for his own self-interest,” Douglas said. “He knows in his heart that gang culture is a serious problem.”