The existence of deputy gangs within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been a point of contention for years, with officials like former Sheriff Alex Villanueva openly denying that the secret organizations even exist.
Last week, though, a deputy speaking in court said that he was a member of one of these groups and even showed the tattoo that members allegedly get when they join.
The Los Angeles Times says that when Deputy Jaime Juarez worked at the Compton station, he joined the Executioners and got a tattoo of “a helmeted skeleton holding a rifle.”
Villanueva has said for a long time that the groups don’t exist. He even sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asking them to stop calling the groups “deputy gangs.”
But the Civilian Oversight Commission found that the groups do exist and that people who spoke out about them were punished.
After Villanueva lost the election, his replacement, Sheriff Robert Luna, told his staff to talk to detectives about their ties to so-called gangs and show any tattoos they have.
With Luna’s creation of the Office of Constitutional Policing to “eradicate deputy gangs from this department,” more accused members and their tattoos may soon be revealed.