LA County Flunks Inspection Big Time – Deputies Watch Porn while Noose Hangs in Cell, Bugs Pour Out of Sinks

PC: Cedric Letsch
Via Unsplash

By The Vanguard Staff

LOS ANGELES, CA – Sybil Brand Men’s Jail inspectors here said they witnessed deputies too busy watching sexually explicit videos to check on the safety of the incarcerated here—including in cell where a depressed man had hung a noose, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times this week.

“The Sheriff’s Department often says they don’t have enough staff,” an ACLU attorney said, quickly adding, “What the Sybil Brand Commission tour shows is that it isn’t that there isn’t enough staff — it’s that they don’t do their job. And in this case, it’s that they were watching porn instead of doing their job.”

The oversight inspectors, noted the Times, said during their surprise visit they saw at least eight deputies skipping their duties at the high-security unit so they could watch “porn” videos, and one deputy didn’t do anything about the hanging noose in a cell.

The first time an inspector approached the deputies to tell them about it, he said, the eight jailers sitting in front of a television brushed him off. When he returned half an hour later with another inspector, he realized why: The deputies were busy watching a ‘sexually explicit’ video, according to an oversight report published this month,” wrote the Times.

“The degree of callousness they were exhibiting was just horrific,” said Eric Miller, one of the two Sybil Brand Commission inspectors who wrote the report. “What’s the purpose of the security check if you’re not actually taking any action?”

Only after inspectors asked several deputies to intervene did one jailer finally tear down the noose before the inmate harmed himself, the report said.

“There was just continuous neglect and bad conditions,” inspector Haley Broder told the Times this week. “People were saying they were hungry. We saw people with giant open wounds. The trash was just everywhere — there’s so much trash. It smells. There are fires. And it seems in general there is just a genuine lack of interest in changing that situation.”

When the inspectors saw the noose, Broder—a trained social worker— “stayed behind to talk to the apparently suicidal man in the shower, who had by then started banging his head against the wall,” wrote the Times.

In his report, Inspector Miller said he went to the deputies’ station and found eight jailers seated in front of a television, with deputies claiming they “would check on the cell later,” but remained seated watching the video on the television, the Times reported.

“After the commissioners finished inspecting the rest of the unit, they returned to discover the eight deputies were still sitting at their station watching a ‘sexually explicit video’ on their television. When Miller walked in, he said, they didn’t move to turn it off,” wrote the Times, quoting Miller, “To me it looked like the beginning of an OnlyFans video or something. It was women in underwear, and it certainly didn’t look like they were going to put more clothes on. It looked like they were going to take them off.”

Officials did not respond to a question from the Times about what the deputies were watching.

The Times said the county is currently subject to four court-enforced settlement agreements stemming from federal lawsuits over poor treatment of inmates and bad living conditions.

“The newest of those settlements dates back to 2015 when — after a rise in jail suicides — the U.S. Department of Justice took legal action against the county for failing to provide adequate treatment for severely mentally ill inmates. The oldest of the cases is focused on living conditions and dates back to the 1970s, but it still remains open because the Sheriff’s Department has never fully complied with the terms of the settlement,” the Times said.

Melissa Camacho, an American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California senior staff attorney representing inmates in two of the ongoing federal lawsuits, told the Times, “Issues with safety checks and not notifying anyone that they saw a noose during a safety check have to be clear violations of the consent decree in the DOJ case. That case is focused on reducing the numbers of deaths by suicide, so to walk by a noose is beyond the pale.”

The Times also reported, “On that same floor of the jail, inspectors spotted several other problems. Some cells had broken toilets or leaking pipes, and the housing areas were humid from the constant drip of leaking showers, the report said. Inmates complained of rats and cockroaches in their cells and food, and inspectors said they saw mildew on ceilings, showers and in cells.”

“There was also a man whose cell was covered in mold and water and he was using his clothes to sop up the water,” Broder said in the Times story, adding, “In that unit they don’t have books, they don’t have pens. They have absolutely nothing, and it’s completely dark.”

Some cells, reported the inspectors, according to the Times, had no cold water, and were passing water from cell to cell using strings and plastic bottles.

The Times said, “inspectors said inmates were triple-bunked in a hot cell block where the air conditioners were filled with lint. There were bugs coming out of the sinks, the report said, along with ‘small black worms.’

“One person reported that there was ‘a sick inmate in the bunk above them whose defecation was falling into their bunk’” and The Times said an “inmate told inspectors the deputies had ignored their requests to help the sick person.”

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for