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Two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies indicted on federal civil rights charges

Two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies indicted on federal civil rights charges

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were  indicted for allegedly assaulting a handcuffed inmate at the Men's Central Jail and filing false reports aimed at covering up the abuse by accusing the inmate of attacking the deputies, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced today.

The indictment of Joey Aguiar, 26, and Mariano Ramirez, 38, was the  latest federal action taken against members of the Sheriff's Department as part  of a sweeping probe of inmate-abuse in the county jails.

Aguiar and Ramirez were expected to be ordered to appear in court for  arraignment March 6.

According to the indictment, Aguiar and Ramirez illegally used force  against the victim -- identified in the indictment as ``BP'' -- in the jail on  Feb. 11, 2009.

While the inmate was handcuffed and secured with a ``waist chain,'' the  deputies allegedly punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed and used a flashlight to  beat the victim.

Soon after the attack, the deputies allegedly wrote bogus reports  designed to cover up the illegal use of force, falsely contending that the  inmate had tried to head-butt and kick the deputies.

Based on those bogus reports, sheriff's investigators presented a case  to the District Attorney's Office for consideration of possible additional  charges against the inmate, according to prosecutors.

The indictment charges both defendants with conspiring to violate civil  rights and with deprivation of rights under color of law that caused bodily  injury. Each of those charges carry a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in  federal prison.

The indictment also charges Aguiar with one count of falsification of  records for submitting a report that allegedly ``falsely stated, among other  things, that victim-inmate BP had attempted to head-butt deputy Aguiar's face  and that victim-inmate BP violently kicked at deputy Aguiar.''

Ramirez was also charged with falsification of records for submitting a  report that falsely stated the victim had ``viciously kicked his legs at  deputies.''

The charge of falsification of records carries a statutory maximum  penalty of 20 years in prison.

Eighteen current and former sheriff's deputies were indicted earlier on  various corruption and civil rights offenses stemming from the federal probe of  activities inside county jails.

All of those previously charged have pleaded not guilty and are  scheduled for trial later this year.

The federal crackdown was a contributing factor to the recent retirement  of Sheriff Lee Baca.

 

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