ACLU Calls On U.S. Attorney’s Office To Investigate Brutal Beating Of Inmate By Los Angeles County Jail Deputies

Jail In Need Of Systemic Reform And Decrease In Population FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 17, 2011 CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; LOS ANGELES – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU/SC) today called on the United States Attorney’s Office to launch an independent criminal investigation into last month’s brutal beating by two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputies of an inmate at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, part of the Los Angeles County Jail system. The Jan. 24 savage attack on James Parker, detained on a non-violent marijuana charge, was witnessed by ACLU/SC’s Jails Project Coordinator Esther Lim, who is assigned to monitor all county jails, and another inmate. Both observed the two deputies beating Parker for about two minutes while he was lying on the ground limp, motionless and not resisting the deputies in any way. One of the deputies also repeatedly used a Taser against Parker. “It is crucial that the federal government launch an independent investigation immediately,” said Peter Eliasberg, ACLU/SC managing attorney. “A criminal investigation from an impartial outside agency will not only help the inmates but will also help all those deputies who work hard to do their job properly and who should not be painted with the same brush as those who may have violated the law by beating a non-resisting inmate.” Sheriff’s department employees have made groundless public statements challenging the motivation and integrity of Lim, calling into question the impartiality of the LASD. Lim would necessarily be a key witness in any criminal case filed against the deputies and so the statements by sheriff’s department employees could significantly harm any prosecution by the county district attorney that relies on an investigation by the LASD.