A former Los Angeles County sheriff deputy who arrested a man without reason, fabricated a story for the arrest and crashed a police car, injuring the man, agreed to plead guilty to federal felony charges Tuesday, USA Today reports. Sheriff deputies Miguel Vega and Christopher Hernandez arrested Jesus Alegria, identified as J.A. in court records, without telling him he was arrested, reading his rights, handcuffing him or securing his seatbelt on April 13, 2020 at a park, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Vega, 33, also taunted him during the arrest, including a threat to drop him off in gang territory where he would get beaten up. He crashed the police car with Alegria in the backseat. He hit his head and suffered a cut above his eye that required stitches.
Hernandez agreed to plea guilty in July, and Vega filed his plea agreement Tuesday to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. “The Sheriff’s Department is committed to holding employees accountable for their actions and expects them to exhibit the highest moral and ethical standards when serving our communities,” the department said. In 2021, Alegria sued the county, sheriff and two deputies regarding the fabricated drug charges and subsequent arrest report, which the county agreed to settle for $450,000. Humberto Guizar, the attorney who represented Alegria in his lawsuit, said the former deputies’ agreements to plead guilty have brought peace and justice.