5 Deputies Charged in Federal Case Plead Not Guilty

FBI agents arrest current and former LA County Sheriff's deputies allegedly involved in jail abuse scandal

By Jason Kandel and Conan Nolan
|  Monday, Dec 16, 2013  |  Updated 8:06 PM PDT
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Five current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies facing charges in an obstruction and abuse case involving the jails system pleaded not guilty. Conan Nolan reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Monday Dec. 16, 2013.

Conan Nolan

Five current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies facing charges in an obstruction and abuse case involving the jails system pleaded not guilty. Conan Nolan reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Monday Dec. 16, 2013.

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County Leaders Call for Watchdog After LASD Arrests

Los Angeles County supervisors are calling for more oversight of the sheriff's department, one day after 18 current and former deputies were arrested in a jail abuse investigation. Conan Nolan reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2013.

Deputies' Arrest Prompts Protests Outside LA Jail

An ACLU jail monitors says she saw two deputies beating an inmate at Men's Central Jail in 2011. She says the arrests of 18 current and former Los Angeles sheriff's deputies on suspicion of corruption and inmate abuse is "unfortunately, nothing new." Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 9, 2013.
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Five Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials implicated in a wide-ranging federal probe of alleged abuses inside county jails pleaded not guilty on Monday to conspiracy and obstruction-of-justice charges.

Read: Sheriff Needs Watchdog in Wake of Deputy Indictments: County Supervisor

Lt. Gregory Thompson, Deputy Gerard Smith, Sgt. Scott Craig, Deputy James Sexton and Sgt. Maricella Long all entered not-guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson.

Read: 18 LA Deputies Face Civil Rights, Corruption Charges

The five are charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice for what federal prosecutors described as an elaborate effort to interfere with an FBI probe of activities inside county jails.

They are among 18 current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were arrested on suspicion of civil rights and corruption violations.

The arrests stem from a two-year federal probe into corruption and inmate abuse within the Los Angeles County jail system, the United States Attorney's Office said in a press release.

The deputies, most of whom were active on the department but none of whom are above the rank of lieutenant, were either arrested without incident or surrendered Monday to FBI agents.

The deputies are alleged to have committed crimes including use of force under color of authority and obstruction of justice.

The news prompted a Los Angeles County supervisor to call for more oversight of the Sheriff's Department.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said that the county must take a greater oversight while his colleague, Gloria Molina, said she has lost confidence in Sheriff Lee Baca.

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