Federal agents sneaked a cellphone into Men’s Central Jail as part of their investigation of misconduct, sources say.
By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
Federal authorities are investigating allegations of inmate beatings and other misconduct by deputies in Los Angeles County jails, with FBI agents going so far as to sneak a cellphone to an inmate to get reports from inside, according to law enforcement sources.
The inquiries include allegations that deputies broke an inmate’s jaw and other facial bones and beat another man for two minutes while he was unconscious.
Their investigation created a flap recently when Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department brass discovered that an inmate inside Men’s Central Jail was an FBI informant equipped with a cellphone he was believed to be using to communicate with agents on the outside.
Sheriff Lee Baca, who had not been notified by the feds of the plant inside his jail, is expected to meet with U.S. Atty. André Birotte Jr. soon to discuss the phone incident and the growing tensions between the two law enforcement agencies…
After sheriff’s officials discovered the FBI cellphone, the Sheriff’s Department placed one deputy, Gilbert Michel, on leave. He was being investigated by the department on suspicion of allowing a contraband cellphone behind bars, according to sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation…
[Sheriff's spokesman Steve] Whitmore said sneaking a phone into the jails is a serious breach of security that could put inmates, deputies and the public at risk. He said he did not know whether the feds had any safeguards in place to monitor the phone. Federal authorities declined to discuss the matter. The department has launched an investigation into the incident, including the FBI’s role in “colluding with an inmate” to get a cellphone behind bars, he said…(Full text at LA Times)