Smuggled L.A. jail videos cast spotlight on poor conditions

Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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Hello, it’s Monday, June 26, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today.


Fights, beatings and a birth: Videos smuggled out of L.A. jails reveal violence, neglect

A few dozen graphic videos from the past six years were saved to a thumb drive picked out of the trash by one inmate, and secreted out of jail by another. Together, the videos paint a picture of a jail system awash in far more violence and disarray than previously revealed to the public.

Several of the clips recently reviewed by The Times show stabbings and fist fights. One shows an inmate trying to kill himself; one shows several jailers punching a man in the head as they try to subdue him. Still another shows a woman giving birth in a hallway, where her newborn falls onto the floor in a puddle of blood.


Some of the videos, all apparently taken from the jails’ surveillance systems, show men so inured to violence that they continue on with their daily routines, working out and reading even as bloody brawls and beatings by deputies unfold feet away. Other clips highlight a troubling inattentiveness from jailers, who are slow to respond or leave vulnerable inmates unattended.

“The safety and security of the people within our jails is of the utmost importance to us, and we will continue to provide the best care possible for them,” said L.A. County Assistant Sheriff Sergio Aloma, who oversees the jails. “While these incidents took place before this administration, it is our duty to review these allegations and determine if the described events can be identified.”

Abortion’s uncertain future a year after Roe was overturned

A year after the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade — upending half a century of precedent on the constitutional right to an abortion — more than a quarter of U.S. women of reproductive age live in a state where the procedure is banned, severely limited or unavailable.

Since the high court’s Dobbs vs. Jackson ruling that left abortion decisions up to the states, conservative lawmakers have introduced nearly 400 bills to restrict access — even as polling has found that 61% of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.


Even in blue states, reproductive rights remain in peril as antiabortion activists sue to block access to medication abortion and continue their push for a nationwide ban.

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Can a $20-million liability fund encourage more ‘good fire’ in California?

As California grapples with increasingly destructive wildfires due in part to climate change, many experts insist that the state must expand the use of controlled burns to clear forests of excess fuel and restore ecosystem health.

A key barrier had been the inability to obtain insurance coverage for burn operations. But a new state program seeks to solve that problem by establishing a $20-million claims fund to cover damages should a controlled burn escape.

Russian mercenaries call off march to Moscow


The private army known as the Wagner Group abruptly halted its march on Moscow late Saturday as President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish the rebellion’s commanders, in the most serious challenge to date of the Russian leader’s grip on power.

The seemingly short-lived insurrection against the Kremlin’s military leaders shook Putin’s authority like no other crisis in nearly a generation and threatened to alter the course of the war in Ukraine.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, said his armored forces had advanced to within 125 miles of the Russian capital after seizing control of the country’s rear logistical hub for its war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin said Prigozhin would move to Belarus, charges against him would be dropped, and participating troops would not be prosecuted.

SoCal submarine tour business motors on in shadow of Titan disaster

As they do on any sunny day, people packed into the narrow cabin of the bright yellow SS Nautilus, a semi-submersible owned and operated by Catalina Adventure Tours, on Friday to experience an under-the-sea adventure off the shores of Avalon, Calif. — but not too deep.

Just 24 hours earlier, after days of dramatic headlines, the U.S. Coast Guard declared that a submersible called the Titan suffered a “catastrophic implosion” during its descent to inspect the wreck of the Titanic on June 18, killing the five people aboard. The wall-to-wall news coverage threatened to cast a pall over the underwater tourism business in Southern California, although members of the industry hastened to point out the many differences between the excursions on offer in places like Avalon and the one that ended in tragedy.




20 years ago, the Arroyo Seco Parkway turned into a car-free party. Get ready for another. In October, six miles of the 110 Freeway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena — the West Coast’s oldest freeway — are set to close down for people to walk, bike, skate and run.

Human remains are found in the Mt. Baldy wilderness amid a search for missing actor Julian Sands. Hikers around Mt. Baldy discovered a body around 10 a.m. and notified authorities, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Sands has been missing since Jan. 13.

Walgreens pharmacist cites his religion for denying a transgender man’s hormone replacement meds. For nearly three years, a 30-year-old transgender man picked up his hormone-replacement therapy prescriptions at a Walgreens in Oakland without a hitch. That changed Monday, when a pharmacist denied his medication.

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Bridge over Yellowstone River collapses, dropping train cars with hazardous materials into river. The train cars were carrying hot asphalt and molten sulfur, Stillwater County Disaster and Emergency Services said. Officials shut down drinking water intakes downstream while they evaluated the danger.


The inconvenient truth that haunted Indian Prime Minister Modi’s White House visit. Over the course of Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, he and President Biden touted shared democratic values. But in India, Modi and his Hindu nationalist party have advanced policies that discriminate against religious minorities and limit freedom of speech and the press.

Supreme Court upholds Biden’s immigration enforcement plan, tosses out Texas lawsuit. In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld a key part of President Biden’s plan for targeted immigration enforcement, ruling that the administration may focus its efforts on arresting and deporting those who pose a current danger.

Greece’s conservative New Democracy Party wins a landslide election victory for a second four-year term. New Democracy Party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis vowed to speed up reforms following his landslide victory Sunday in the country’s second election in five weeks, which granted him a comfortable parliamentary majority to form a government for a second four-year term.


Review: FX’s ‘The Bear’ Season 2 is chaotic and quiet, meditative and loud. It’s perfect. “Well, I’ve watched it all and, if anything, it’s an even better season of a show I already regarded as just about perfect,” writes television critic Robert Lloyd.

Jharrel Jerome of ‘I’m a Virgo’ is a Libra, but he can channel another star sign. Boots Riley’s new Prime Video show, “I’m a Virgo,” is tough to pin down. Star Jharrel Jerome brings all the disparate elements together and tells The Times he was just as thrown by the plot when he read the script as the audience will surely be.


Newsom and lawmakers cut a grand deal for Hollywood: Refundable tax credit and new set safety rules. Hollywood studios will get a lucrative tax benefit they have long sought, and workers on film productions will get safety protocols they’ve wanted since the deadly “Rust” shooting, under legislation Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign into law.


SAG-AFTRA leaders cite ‘extremely productive’ contract talks with Hollywood studios. In a video message to members Saturday, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland shared no details of the talks but said they were progressing well, suggesting that Hollywood may avert a second strike.


David Peralta homer and a critical balk fuel wacky Dodgers comeback over Astros. Four walks, a knock and a balk. These were the primary ingredients in the witches brew of a cocktail the Dodgers stirred together Saturday for a wacky eighth-inning rally that capped an 8-7 come-from-behind victory over the Houston Astros.

Galaxy’s goal-scoring woes continue in scoreless draw with Colorado. William Yarbrough saved three shots for Colorado, Jonathan Bond stopped one for Los Angeles, and the Rapids and Galaxy played to a scoreless draw Saturday night.

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DNA scientists once halted their own apocalyptic research. Will AI researchers do the same? Although 50 years apart, the debates that followed the DNA and AI letters have a key similarity: In both, a relatively specific concern raised by the researchers quickly became a public proxy for a range of political, social and even spiritual worries.

Turning office buildings into apartments is how California eases the housing crisis. Forget the urban doom loop talk. The moribund suburban strip malls and downtown office buildings present a tremendous opportunity for California to address one of its most pressing problems.



Digital painting of Hannibal Burress
(Samuel Rodriguez / For The Times)

How to have the best Sunday in L.A., according to Hannibal Buress. For two decades, Hannibal Buress, who raps under the stage name Eshu Tune, has been a ubiquitous presence in the comedy world. But if you ask what’s exciting him these days, he’ll rave about making music. He also makes time for hitting the 1-3 pocket at his favorite bowling alleys and catching music performances. Here’s how he’d spend the perfect day.


Rafer Johnson carries the Olympic torch through the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1984.
(Peter Leabo / Associated Press)

Rafer Johnson lighting the Olympic flame in ’84 remains an ultimate moment for the L.A. Coliseum and his family. Saturday, July 28, 1984, the date of the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games, was huge in the history of sports, writes columnist Bill Dwyre. It was a high-profile moment for Johnson — who won perhaps the most memorable decathlon in Rome in 1960; became an actor; and helped capture Sirhan Sirhan after the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy — and for L.A.

It’s also just one of the many memorable events to take place at the Coliseum, which turns 100 this month. Over the century, the Coliseum has been a cultural centerpiece for sprawling L.A., a place for sports, rock concerts, papal visits and even ski jumping. The Times compiled a look back at the stadium’s history.

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