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Los Angeles Sheriff's Office Settles Visitor Beating Case for $1 Million

Los Angeles County Jail deputies have a reputation for brutal treatment of prisoners, and have paid out millions of dollars in settlements as a result. However, even a man visiting his brother Robert at Men's Central Jail and his wife were not exempt from police brutality. As a result of an altercation at that facility in February of 2011, Gabriel Carrillo received a $1.2 million settlement for his injuries at the hands of jail deputies. [See: PLN, March 2016, p.1].

Carrillo and his wife admitted that they both accidentally brought their cell phones in the jail's booking area, but when his wife dropped her phone, she was harassed and although he complied with jail personnel instructions to stand up, he was attacked, handcuffed, and then beaten so severely that he suffered serious bruising and temporary facial paralysis. He then lost consciousness, and when he came to, was pepper sprayed while still handcuffed. Carrillo alleged that after his beating, he was transported to the jail ward at county hospital, where he was treated for his injuries, and videotaped. He was also charged in a criminal complaint with resisting arrest even though his hands were cuffed behind his back. [See: PLN, March 2013, p.1].

After he recovered from his injuries, Carrillo filed a federal civil rights complaint against various jail deputies, supervisors and Los Angeles County, alleging, "the deputies threw Mr. Carrillo to the floor and began punching and kicking his body and face. Mr. Carrillo's hands were still handcuffed behind his back while he was beaten on the floor. At times he was pulled by his handcuffed hands in order to move his body." Carrillo also alleged that jail deputies attempted to cover up the details of the beating, and fabricated a story that he had resisted arrest and attacked jail personnel.

After almost three years of litigation, Los Angeles County finally settled the litigation in August 2014, agreeing to pay over $1.2 million in a structured settlement. Los Angeles County has paid out the sum of $47 million dollars to settle similar lawsuits.

The FBI investigated the facts of the case, and charged Sgt. Eric Gonzalez and Deputies Susie Ayala, Fernando Luviando Luviano, Noel Womack and Pantamitr Zunggeemoge with various civil rights violations.  All are currently awaiting trial. See: Carrillo v. County of Los Angeles, U.S.D.C. (C.D. Cal.), Case No. 2:12-cv-02609-DSF-PJW.

Additional sources:, Los Angeles Times

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Related legal case

Carrillo v. County of Los Angeles