Friday, March 22, 2019
Attorney Calls Tattooed Sheriff’s Deputy Testimony ‘Bone-Chilling’ 
By City News Service  
Published July 19, 2018

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell arrives at a news conference to talk about Saturday’s fatal shooting of a man in Lynwood, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Los Angeles. A black man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles deputies kept holding a gun as he lay dying on the ground, authorities said Sunday in response to questions about why they continued to fire on the man after he fell to the pavement. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Sheriff Jim McDonnell insists the department is continuing to investigate a fatal deputy-involved shooting that has led to allegations of a secret society of tattooed deputies within the agency’s Compton station, and any wrongdoing discovered during the probe will be punished.

“My expectations are very clear as to employee behavior and performance,” McDonnell said in a statement Friday, adding the tattoo uncovered during a deposition in a pending wrongful-death lawsuit “is a cause for concern but does not in any way” reflect the culture within the sheriff’s department.

McDonnell wrote on his Twitter page Friday afternoon that the department is continuing to investigate the shooting that prompted the lawsuit, and any details from the probe — such as the tattoo — will be included.

“I want to be clear this incident HAS been under investigation since it occurred,” McDonnell wrote. “As (with) any investigation, any new evidence or info that may be uncovered will be included & reviewed. If our investigation finds any evidence of misconduct, appropriate action will be taken. #LASDTattoo”

The latest revelations, detailed this week by the Los Angeles Times, centers on a deposition given in May by Deputy Samuel Aldama, who described under oath a tattoo on his calf featuring a skull in a military-style helmet bearing the letters CPT for Compton, along with a rifle, encircled by flames.

He said he got the tattoo in June 2016, about two months before he was involved in the fatal shooting of Donta Taylor, The Times reported.

At a Friday news conference, attorney John Sweeney, who represents Taylor’s family, played for reporters a portion of Aldama’s videotaped deposition. At one point, Aldama is asked if he has any “ill feelings toward African Americans in general.” After a long pause, Aldama responds, “I do, sir,” explaining, “I grew up in the city of Compton, sir.”

“I’ve never heard testimony like that before in my life, and it was bone-chilling that I was sitting across the table from a person who has a badge and a gun,” Sweeney said.

McDonnell told The Times that for the past year, the department has been examining deputy tattoos, logos and symbolism within the organization. He said there is also a separate administrative investigation into the shooting, which may address the deputy’s admissions.

“I’m not somebody from a generation where tattoos are accepted the way they are today,” said McDonnell, who said he was unhappy when he found out a couple weeks ago about the deputy’s admissions under oath, The Times reported. “I’m looking at what’s behind it. Is it just body art? Is it something that reflects well on our core values?”

The department has a history of clandestine groups with names such as the Regulators, Grim Reapers and Jump Out Boys that have been accused of promoting highly aggressive tactics and perpetuating a code of silence among members. Nearly 30 years ago, a federal judge said the Vikings club was a “neo- Nazi, white supremacist gang,” The Times reported.

Sweeney said Friday he was putting up billboards featuring Aldama’s picture to identify other people who may have been mistreated by the deputy in any way. He said tattoos like the one sported by Aldama and 10 to 20 other deputies is indicative of a gang-like culture.

“They say that you earn your ink when you get these tattoos, and you earn them by doing violent acts,” he said.

Categories: Local | News
Tags: | | | |

Get the Los Angeles Sentinel App!

Since 1933 The Voice of Our Community Speaking for Itself.
86 Years of LA Sentinel.
Black News.

Photo of the Day


LA Sentinel
in your pocket:

WBOK 1230am
Real Talk For Real Times
A Bakewell Media Company

LA Watts Times


© 2019 Los Angeles Sentinel All Rights Reserved • A Bakewell Media Publication

AboutArchivesContact UsCorrections & MisprintsMedia Kit

Terms of ServicePrivacy Policy

LA Watts TimesTaste of SoulWBOK 1230am

Close / I'm already on the list

Subscribe Today!

Don't be limited anymore! Subscribe Now »

** Existing subscribers, please Login / Register for Digital »

Subscribe to The Los Angeles Sentinel for only $5.99 $3.99 per month, with 1 month free!

Relax in comfort each week as you read the printed newspaper on your own time, delivered weekly to your home or office. This subscription also includes UNLIMITED DIGITAL ACCESS for all of your devices. Includes FREE shipping! One easy payment of $3.99/month gets you:

Subscribe Now »