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Some In Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office Are Now Getting Their Deputy Gang Tattoos Covered Up

Some Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies are getting their tattoos related to the department's notorious gangs covered up amid bad press and repeated lawsuits and criticism from oversight officials, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some also see the tattoos representing so-called deputy gangs as a roadblock to advancement. More than half a dozen deputies and supervisors — most of whom asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak on the record — said that they or deputies they knew were considering getting ink removed or covered up. Inspector General Max Huntsman, the county watchdog tasked with overseeing the department, said that rewarding deputies who remove or cover tattoos seems like a long overdue change — but it isn’t enough. “We still have a problem,” Huntsman said, “as long as the Sheriff’s Department is secretive about alleged gang activity and does not thoroughly investigate it and identify all the members.”

The department has been plagued by allegations about tattooed groups of deputies running roughshod over certain stations and floors of the jail for decades. The groups have been the subject of lawsuits, oversight investigations, an FBI probe and repeated allegations of misconduct. Last year, a Civilian Oversight Commission report urged Sheriff Robert Luna to ban the “cancer” of deputy gangs.“ They create rituals that valorize violence,” the report said, “such as recording all deputy-involved shootings in an official book, celebrating with ‘shooting parties,’ and authorizing deputies who have shot a community member to add embellishments to their common gang tattoos.” 


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