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Grand Jury Probes L.A. County After Deputy Knelt on Inmate's Head

A criminal grand jury is probing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s handling of a videotaped incident in which a deputy violently subdued an inmate by kneeling on his head for three minutes, reports the Los Angeles Times. It’s unclear whom the grand jury may be targeting. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who faces a tough runoff election in November, has been accused by three high-level executives of trying to keep the March 2021 incident under wraps.

The incident took place two days after jury selection began in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd by kneeling on his neck. During routine searches at the San Fernando, Ca., Courthouse, inmates kept talking and laughing after they were told to pipe down. Deputy Douglas Johnson ordered inmate Enzo Escalante, who was awaiting trial for murder and other charges to face a wall. Security video obtained by the Times shows Johnson walking closely behind Escalante through a hallway and toward a wall. Escalante turned around and punched the deputy in the face several times. Johnson and other deputies took Escalante face down to the ground. After Escalante was handcuffed, Johnson kept his knee on the inmate’s head for three minutes.


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