Tony Wafford (File photo)

In a recent article it was revealed that Los Angeles County ex-Undersheriff Tim Murakami finally admitted he had a tattoo of a caveman on his ankle. For the past two years, Murakami ducked and dodged questions about his knowledge as well as his and other deputies’ participation in gang activities within the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.

Only after two years of resisting subpoenas to testify about deputies involved in gang activity and no longer having the cover of his partner-in-crime, former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, did Murakami come clean (because he was under oath) that he had the tattoo of a caveman on his ankle symbolizing his once gang affiliation with the Cavemen of the East LA Sheriff’s station.

Villanueva once said when asked about gangs within the department, “They’ve painted this false image of the entire department and the men and women who are doing the hard work keeping the county safe.”

Mr. Villanueva, let’s stop pretending we don’t know what we all know. I know you’re a diehard Trump supporter and lying is the order of the day, but please stop it. We all know that there are gang members within the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department just like there are cliques (gangs) on your job. The difference is that this clique (gang) has the power to control life and death.

Only after leaving office and four hours of argumentative testimony in front of the Civilian Oversight Commission was the former Sheriff willing to attempt to minimize deputy gang activity, while at the same time refusing to admit its existence. Are there gangs within law enforcement? Where all is obvious, there’s no need for discussion. Are we really going to ask ourselves, “Is water wet?” Where would that conversation go?

Am I saying that all deputies and law enforcement officers are members of a gang or engage in nefarious behavior? Of course not!  What I do know is that when Mr. Murakami was asked did Mr. Villanueva know about the Caveman tattoo, Mr. Murakami replied, “I believe that he did.”

So, if the “top cop” knew, what makes you think we, the victims of those gangs, don’t know?  Mr. Villanueva, if you think speaking truth about bad cops paints a false image of the entire department and the men and women who are doing the hard work keeping the county safe, I can only say to that, “Let’s breakout the brushes and get to painting!”    

Black and Brown communities have not only known about deputy gangs, but have had to live under the threat of death daily from the havoc wreaked on them and their community by the Cavemen, the Indians, the Banditos, the Little Red Devils, the Grim Reapers and the Jump Out Boys.

You know the beginning of healing is to first recognize that you’re sick. We can never begin to solve the problem of police misconduct until we’re willing to accept the fact that it exists.  America is always willing to study, research and dissect everything with the exception of its own pathology.

America claims to be the most powerful and the greatest nation on the face of this earth, yet she’s a coward when it comes to looking in the mirror at herself. There is not a nation or a people on this earth that doesn’t have some regrets about its past. As a nation, it’s America’s pathology and pathogenic nature and behavior that’s hindering America from being its best.

Did you know that L.A. County’s legal spending skyrocketed to $1 billion last year? That’s right, one billion with a “B.” The annual tally of the county’s legal tab, which tracks payouts made between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, found the county spent $257 million on settlements and judgments, tripling what it spent the year before. In November 2022, during a single meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved more than $47 million in settlements in cases involving misconduct by sheriff’s deputies.

You know, there’s a saying in the 12-step program that you’re only as sick as your secrets. One billion in payouts? That’s no secret!   Just how long are we going to pretend we don’t know what we all know? I guess until we can no longer pay what we ain’t got!

Want more Black news? Join the community today! Click here for the Weekly newspaper and E-paper.

(Sentinel News Service)