COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — A violent gang of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who call themselves “The Executioners” control a patrol station in Compton through force, threats, work slowdowns and acts of revenge against those who speak out, a deputy alleged in a legal claim.
Austreberto Gonzalez, a former U.S. Marine and a sheriff’s deputy since 2007, said in his claim that the gang retaliated against him for months after he anonymously reported a fellow deputy for allegedly assaulting a coworker in February “to further the reputation of the gang.”
Gonzalez later received a text message with a photo of graffiti at the station. The graffiti said, “ART IS A RAT.”
On Tuesday, Councilwoman Michelle Chambers said she saw the graffiti at the station as recently as last week. It has since been removed, she said.
Chambers said at a news conference that it’s unacceptable that Compton residents are still dealing with reports of excessive force in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
Chambers, as well as Compton Mayor Aja Brown and City Attorney Damon Brown and others, called on the state attorney general’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the sheriff’s station.
Other members of the community told stories of their interactions with deputies, which ranged from disrespectful exchanges to motor vehicle stops to arrests.
Gonzalez’s June 23 claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, was first reported by The Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
The allegations against the Compton clique follow accusations of other gangs in the department — called the Spartans, Regulators, Grim Reapers and Banditos — that also share tattoos and a history of violence. The Times also reported on investigations into these alleged gangs.
While Sheriff Alex Villanueva said last week during a Facebook Live event that “there is no gang of any deputies running any station,” the department later issued a statement.
“Sheriff Villanueva takes these allegations very seriously and recently published a policy specifically addressing illicit groups, deputy cliques, and subgroups,” the statement said. “The matter is currently being investigated and swift administrative action is being taken.”
Compton has contracted with the sheriff’s department since 2000 to provide law enforcement for the city. The contract is $22 million annually and is in its third year of a five-year agreement, officials said.
Gonzalez estimates that there are 20 “inked” members of the Executioners gang in the station, and another 20 who are prospective members or close associates. The “inked” members have matching tattoos — “a skull with Nazi imagery, holding an AK-47” — that indicate their affiliation with the gang, Gonzalez alleged in his claim. There are no Black or female members.
The deputy also accused the gang of threatening work slowdowns by disregarding radio calls or responding to them slowly, as well as instituting illegal arrest quotas, if they did not get their desired schedules or assignments.