Two Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputies who are accused with three colleagues over the beating of a jail visitor have broken ranks on the eve of a trial and pleaded guilty.
Noel Womack and Pantamitr Zunggeemoge struck a deal with prosecutors which could see them testifying against their former colleagues, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday, citing court filings.
Womack ended years of denials by admitting deputies brutalised a visitor, Gabriel Carillo, who was handcuffed and held to the floor in a room at the sheriff’s department’s main jail facility in February 2011.
Federal authorities have investigated reports of several similar incidents in 2010 and 2011. Deputies allegedly beat visitors in a windowless, secluded room and then wrote reports falsely claiming the victims had instigated violence.
Womack agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge that he lied to FBI agents when he said he did not know if Carillo, who was visiting his brother, was handcuffed.
Zunggeemoge entered a guilty plea earlier this year, court records show, according to the Times. The agreement between prosecutors and Zunggeemoge, who had faced allegations of abuse and dishonesty, was sealed by a judge, keeping details secret.
The trial of the five deputies is due to begin on 16 June. The plea agreements mark the first time in two decades that a sheriff’s deputy has been convicted in federal court of crimes related to excessive force.
Prosecutors have portrayed Sergeant Eric Gonzalez as a ringleader who fostered abusive behaviour. Gonzalez and the other accused deputies, Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano, have pleaded not guilty.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015
Fox News cuts into Trump’s Turning Point USA speech after he starts rambling about handshakes
Fox News on Tuesday briefly interrupted a speech being delivered by President Donald Trump at a Turning Point USA summit.
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"They said, sir, would you like to shake the hands of all the cadets? I said how many other? They said 1,100. I said yeah, that sounds okay,” Trump remarked.
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Hundreds of orgs, political and religious leaders demand Pompeo abolish his anti-LGBTQ ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’
'Harmful to the Global Effort to Protect the Rights of All People and a Waste of Resources'
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Meghan McCain gets schooled after complaining Brett Kavanaugh was treated worse than Al Franken
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"The View" tackled a New Yorker piece published by Jane Mayer, who believes the Minnesota Democrat was "railroaded" out of the U.S. Senate over sexual harassment claims, and McCain said Democrats had no choice but to force him to resign.
"Imagine him questioning Brett Kavanaugh at the time," McCain said, "which by the way, the writer who wrote this article, Jane Mayer, wrote a 2018 piece about allegations of Brett Kavanaugh that's been panned because the only corroborating witness said he had heard the story but he didn't remember it now, so it's very tricky."