Victim Speaks After Two LA County Deputies Indicted in Inmate Abuse Case

The indictment stems from an ongoing FBI investigation that resulted in charges against 18 other LA County Sheriff's deputies

By Jonathan Lloyd, Samia Kha and Beverly White
|  Saturday, Feb 8, 2014  |  Updated 4:36 AM PDT
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Two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies face 40 years in prison after they are accused of beating an inmate. We hear from that inmate. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Friday, Feb. 8, 2014.

Two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies face 40 years in prison after they are accused of beating an inmate. We hear from that inmate. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Friday, Feb. 8, 2014.

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Two LA County Jail Deputies Are Under Fire

Two Los Angeles County Jail Deputies are accused of beating a chained inmate, and then lying about the incident. It's the latest in a growing stack of complaints against the LA County Sheriff s Department. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Monterey Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2014.
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Two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies accused of kicking and punching a handcuffed inmate, then filing false reports about the altercation at Men's Central Jail, were indicted on federal civil rights charges in connection with an ongoing inmate abuse investigation.

The deputies -- Joey Aguiar, 26, and Mariano Ramirez, 38 -- are accused of illegally using force against an inmate and then engaging in a cover-up. That cover-up involved bogus reports that led to false prosecution against the victim, according to federal investigators.

Former inmate Brett Philips told KPCC Radio Friday how in 2009, he survived a scuffle with deputies at Men's Central Jail.

"I had stitches in my head. My lower back was hurting, I had, I was just sore all over," Philips said. "I still got the scars on my wrists from like the handcuffs were so tight."

The federal grand jury indictment was handed down Thursday as the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues its probe into allegations of inmate abuse involving the LA County Sheriff's Department.

"Feds was the ones that told me that police was gonna try to charge me with assault on a deputy," Philips said.

Philips was serving seven months at Mens Central Jail for a parole violation.

"That's something that we've seen before where the inmates are sort of twice victimized. Once they're beaten and then second, then they’re accused of having absolutely been the aggressors. That’s simply not the truth," ACLU Legal Director Peter Eliasberg said.

Last month, 18 current and former deputies were indicted after a two-year federal investigation into corruption and inmate abuse.

In the new indictment, Aguiar and Ramirez are accused of beating a handcuffed inmate February 2009 who also was secured with a "waist chain" restraint. The deputies allegedly kicked and punched the inmate, used pepper spray on him and struck him with a flashlight.

"I never see his hands trying to protect himself. He just was saying stop please, stop," jail chaplain Paulino Juarez said.

The deputies then followed up with false reports to cover up the abuse, according to the indictment. Based on those reports, the case was referred to Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

"Each false report count carries a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of twenty years," Deputy US Attorney Maggie Carter said.

Both men are charged with conspiring to violate civil rights and with deprivation of rights under color of law that caused bodily injury. Aguiar faces an additional count of falsification of records because he allegedly reported that the inmate "viciously kicked his legs at deputies."

One of the deputies was relieved of duty because of "an unrelated incident," according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"The abuse of authority will not be tolerated. As of today, they are both relieved of duty," Capt. Mike Parker said Friday.

Aguiar and Ramirez are due in court March 6.

The other 18 deputies charged in the FBI investigation pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other charges. They are scheduled to trial later this year.

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