Leaked L.A. County Sheriff’s Department surveillance video shows inmate beaten by deputies
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is facing renewed criticism following a leaked surveillance video showing deputies beating an inmate at the county jail.
The incident took place at approximately 11:50 p.m. on July 3 at the inmate reception center in downtown Los Angeles, the department said in a statement on social media.
In the video, which has been viewed by The Times, 32-year-old Jesus Soto Jara can be seen being placed in handcuffs by a deputy. The video shows a second deputy approaching the inmate, and a scuffle ensues. Soto Jara is then seen being slammed against a metal door as punches are thrown at him by deputies. By this point, Soto Jara’s attorney, Jose Romero, alleges, at least six deputies pummeled him to the ground, out of sight of security cameras. The video cuts off after the other four deputies approach the inmate.
This is the latest allegation of assault and use of excessive force for the embattled Sheriff’s Department. In April, The Times reported that Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his department were being investigated for attempting to cover up a March 2021 incident in which a deputy knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate’s head for three minutes.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is poised to place a charter amendment on the November ballot that would give supervisors the power to remove an elected sheriff from his position.
Romero said his client is suffering from serious injuries following the incident, and still needs additional medical treatment.
“He was beat up Monday and showed up to court Thursday somehow in a pretty bad state,” Romero said. “When I saw him on Friday, he was in pretty bad shape. His left eye was red, his back was in pain, his head was in pain.”
The Sheriff’s Department claims that Soto Jara was seen by medical professionals following the altercation with deputies, “as is standard procedure in all force incidents.”
Authorities said Soto Jara was arrested on July 3 for drug and firearm possession. He accepted a two-year plea deal in court on Thursday in Pomona. Romero said the leaked surveillance video of the incident was obtained through “anonymous sources,” but did not provide any further details.
In a statement released Monday evening, the department alleges that Soto Jara was involved in an argument and attempting to fight another inmate, a claim Romero denied during a news conference.
“The attorney representing the involved inmate, presented many allegations as fact, which he alluded to was ‘verified’ by a source in LASD, but which are categorically incorrect and misleading,” the statement reads.
Romero said Soto Jara’s family has hired a civil attorney, and they are planning to file a viable motion to vacate his recent sentencing.
Matthew Burson, a former captain in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed he was instructed not to investigate the Banditos, one of the controversial groups often referred to as “deputy gangs.”
The Sheriff’s Department said its Internal Affairs Bureau and Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau have opened an investigation. The department also stated that the case was presented to the Office of the Inspector General.
In a statement to The Times, Inspector General Max Huntsman said that while the case was presented to his office, the department has “refused to cooperate” with the investigation process.
“‘Presented’ to the OIG means we were told it happened and some of my line staff were allowed to watch the video,” Huntsman’s statement read. “LASD continues to refuse to cooperate in our request to receive copies of all video and to monitor the in-progress investigation.”
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