The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reportedly has a secret gang of white supremacist deputies with matching skull tattoos embedded within its Compton station, and Superior Court Judge Michael P. Vicencia ruled Oct. 25 that “officials must reveal whether they know the names of deputies” with the hidden ink, the LA Times reports.
John Sweeney, an attorney representing the family of Donta Taylor, 31, a Black man who sheriff’s deputies shot and killed in 2016, is arguing in a wrongful death claim that the “identities of the group’s members among the 163 deputies at the Compton station … be known.”
According to the Times, “One of the deputies involved in the shooting, Samuel Aldama, admitted in a deposition in May to having a tattoo on his calf of a skull with a rifle and a military-style helmet with flames surrounding it. He said as many as 20 other deputies at the Compton station have the same tattoo.”
Of course, this behavior is not unique. PBS reports:
In the 2006 bulletin, the FBI detailed the threat of white nationalists and skinheads infiltrating police in order to disrupt investigations against fellow members and recruit other supremacists. The bulletin was released during a period of scandal for many law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including a neo-Nazi gang formed by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who harassed black and Latino communities. Similar investigations revealed officers and entire agencies with hate group ties in Illinois, Ohio and Texas.
There is also Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force; Philadelphia’s Lying Bitches Unit; and the Chicago Police Department has such an entrenched legacy of violence that the University of Chicago created a Torture Archive to document its intragenerational savagery.
As far back as 1999, the LA Times reported on the proliferation of white supremacists with gangs within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, so this song and dance about “investigations” to determination the veracity of claims against them is almost insulting.
The groups–with macho monikers like the Pirates, Vikings, Rattlesnakes and Cavemen–have long been a subculture in the country’s largest Sheriff’s Department and, in some cases, an inside track to acceptance in the ranks. …
A federal judge hearing class-action litigation against the department described the most well-known of the groups, the Lynwood Vikings, as a “neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang” and found that deputies had engaged in racially motivated hostility. The county paid $9 million in fines and training costs to settle the lawsuits in 1996.
We know this to be true: Police and sheriff’s departments are state-sponsored gangs with licenses to kill. They exist to protect white property, criminalize Black and other non-white people, and to occupy economically exploited communities.
Until and unless a police officer or deputy becomes so drunk on power that he or she blatantly ignores the law—in a killing so egregious that prosecutors are left with no choice but to reluctantly indict them on charges—these officers are free to destroy Black bodies and shape white narratives that absolve the state of ever fully recognizing Black people’s humanity. And, yes, Black cops, too. White supremacist state violence—and power—is institutionalized and systemic, and anyone of any race, ethnicity, creed, gender, or religion can act in service to its mission.
Read more at the LA Times.