LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has begun termination proceedings against six deputies who were involved in an attack on two fellow deputies at a Christmas party last year, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore, who declined to name the deputies citing personnel constraints, said a seventh deputy who was placed on leave after the incident was not fired because of insufficient evidence.
The deputies worked on the third floor of Men’s Central Jail, where they allegedly were part of an aggressive group that used gang-like signals to identify themselves.
Michael Gennaco, who heads up the sheriff’s watchdog agency, said the firing of six deputies marks one of the largest disciplinary actions in the department’s history.
“We have never seen this many deputies disciplined so severely in the 10 years we’ve been here over one incident. It’s unprecedented,” said Gennaco.
The investigation stemmed from a fight that broke out last December outside a Montebello banquet hall where a Christmas party for jail employees was being hosted.
Sheriff’s officials told the Times that reforms to jail assignments, such as more regular rotations to keep deputies from forming similar cliques, were being considered. Investigators were also probing whether sheriff’s supervisors knew about the clique before the Christmas party melee.
Gennaco said prosecutors were reviewing possible criminal charges in connection with the incident.
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