Full Coverage: Sheriff’s Department cover-up of incident where deputy knelt on inmate’s head

VIDEO | 01:53
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department use of force

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials subdue an inmate, with a deputy kneeling on the man’s head. The L.A. County district attorney’s office has decided the deputy won’t face any charges.

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Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials attempted to cover up an incident in which a deputy knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate for three minutes because they feared the “negative light” it could shed on the department, according to internal records reviewed by The Times.

The independent watchdog for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating allegations Sheriff Alex Villanueva lied about his knowledge of the incident.

Additionally, an L.A. County sheriff’s commander filed a lawsuit accusing Villanueva of obstructing justice and retaliating against those who blew the whistle.

Enzo Escalante, the inmate whose head was knelt on by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy for three minutes while he was handcuffed, sued members of the Sheriff’s Department, including Villanueva.

Los Angeles County prosecutors are now convening a criminal grand jury to investigate whether the Sheriff’s Department mishandled the incident, according to documents and interviews. Several subpoenas have been served ordering sheriff’s officials to appear and testify later this week, according to two sources with knowledge of the subpoenas.