By The Vanguard Staff
LOS ANGELES, CA – Video clips smuggled out of Los Angeles County jails to news media show violence inside the walls—and no real response from “guards” overseeing the prisoners—as well as a horrific scene of a shackled inmate giving birth in a hallway.
A few “dozen graphic videos from the past six years saved to a thumb drive picked out of the trash by one inmate, and later secreted out of the jail by another…paint a picture of a jail system awash in far more violence and disarray than previously revealed to the public,” according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
The Times said, “Several of the clips recently reviewed by The Times show stabbings and fist fights. One shows an inmate trying to kill himself, and another shows several jailers punching a man in the head as they try to subdue him. Still another shows a woman giving birth in the middle of a hallway, where her newborn falls out onto the jail floor in a puddle of blood.”
“Some of the videos, all apparently taken from the jails’ surveillance systems, show men so inured to violence that they continue on with their daily routine, working out and reading even as bloody brawls and beatings by deputies unfold feet away. Other clips highlight a troubling inattentiveness from jailers, who are slow to respond or leave vulnerable inmates unattended,” added the Times.
In one video, a man is beaten, and then left alone when he cleans up his own blood until the beating resumes.
For the next 10 minutes, the victim paces and tries to clean up his own blood. A few onlookers go back to working out in the corner—until suddenly the beating resumes…roughly 14 minutes after the attack began, deputies show up and order everyone to the ground, said the Times.
Michele Deitch—a senior lecturer in criminal justice at University of Texas in Austin—said she was “utterly stunned” by the brutality and lack of oversight, particularly after watching the 20-minute clip, the Times wrote.
“There was absolutely no supervision,” she said. “That that could be happening with cameras on and no one comes is mind-boggling,” although the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. claimed, added the Times, video feeds are not always monitored in “real time.”
The Times said, “Officials were not immediately able to determine who made the compilation of videos or why, and…said any investigation would be difficult without a copy of the drive that contained them.”
The LA Times said “it was more than a year ago that an inmate worker spotted the drive in the trash at Men’s Central Jail. With no way to know what it contained, the worker plucked it out of the garbage and began trying to sell it to other inmates….the man instead hung onto it, sometimes hiding it inside his body for weeks.”
“It was only once he was finally released that he was able to access a laptop and see everything on it. There were dozens of reports on arrests, crimes behind bars and uses of force — all authored by different people and stored in a folder labeled: ‘My Reports.’ There were audio clips of assorted dispatch calls. Training manuals. Pictures of tattoos. And dozens of violent videos,” the Times noted.
The LA Times cites, “One of the videos from inside Men’s Central Jail shows footage of a hallway on the 2000 floor, where a shirtless man is seated alone on a bench with his back against the walls and his hands cuffed behind him. There’s a jailer standing watch as a line of inmates files past. Seconds later, a heavily tattooed inmate walks up and speaks to the handcuffed man.
“The handcuffed man does not acknowledge him, instead pointedly turning his head away. The deputy shoos the tattooed man away, then quickly turns and walks off himself, leaving the handcuffed man defenseless and unattended.
“Within seconds, the tattooed man circles back, bursting into the frame and punching the handcuffed inmate repeatedly, knocking him off the bench. The handcuffed man tries to back away, but his attacker continues pummeling him until a deputy—the same deputy who left them unattended—intervenes.”
The LA Times story notes the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit a decade ago alleging that “degrading, cruel and sadistic deputy attacks on inmates” had become a common occurrence. The suit led to a 2015 settlement agreement, with which the county has never fully complied, added the Times.
Another clip, labeled “Jail Baby Fetus,” shows “a woman sitting in a wheelchair that’s been left in a jail hallway. Her head nods and lolls about, but she’s otherwise motionless,” write the Times, adding, “Suddenly, she gives birth, and her newborn falls onto the jail floor. The woman doesn’t reach down to get the child or move her arms, which seem to be affixed to the arms of the wheelchair.”