Lenny Dykstra accuses sheriff’s officials of beating him in jail

Lenny Dykstra at his 2012 sentencing hearing after being convicted of grand theft auto.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Former baseball star Lenny Dykstra has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, alleging they beat him and covered up the incident.

Since his retirement from baseball, Dykstra has served prison time for auto theft, bankruptcy fraud and exposing himself to women.

The lawsuit accuses six deputies of punching and kicking Dykstra and slamming his head against the wall in his cell at Men’s Central Jail on April 5, 2012.

A sheriff’s captain then attempted to place Dykstra in the psych ward to prevent him from complaining, the lawsuit alleges.

The Sheriff’s Department will have no comment until it reviews and investigates the charges, said a spokeswoman, Capt. Britta Steinbrenner. An earlier department investigation acknowledged that deputies struck Dykstra but determined they acted appropriately. Sheriff’s officials have said that Dykstra struck a medical technician and a nurse during the incident.


Dykstra’s complaint, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, lists last names, but no first names, for the captain, nine deputies and two sergeants. Other defendants include then-undersheriff Paul Tanaka and department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Ten nurses and doctors are also named as defendants in the suit. They are accused of not treating or documenting Dykstra’s injuries.

The lawsuit characterizes the incident as part of a pervasive pattern of violence against inmates. In recent months, 21 sheriff’s deputies have been charged with brutalizing inmates and other crimes. All have pleaded not guilty.

“In order to create their atmosphere of fear and brutality, the sheriffs often targeted those who were least likely to fight back … depending all along for the quiet complicity of the medical staff in not documenting, not diagnosing, and not treating injuries from those beatings,” said Dykstra’s complaint.

Twitter: @cindychangLA