LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Three Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were convicted Wednesday of assaulting a handcuffed visitor at a county jail and fabricating stories to cover it up.
A jury found ex-Sgt. Eric Gonzalez and deputies Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano guilty of beating jail visitor Gabriel Carrillo on Feb. 26, 2011. Carrillo had illegally brought a cellphone into the jail while visiting his brother.
All three deputies are free on bond.
A federal jury found them guilty on Wednesday of deprivation of rights in the 2011 beating.
The sergeant and one deputy also were found guilty of conspiracy to violate constitutional rights and falsification of records.
Two other guards charged in Carrillo’s beating previously pleaded guilty in the case and testified against their former co-workers.
Prosecutors told jurors the deputies unnecessarily beat Carrillo and tried to cover it up under their sergeant’s direction.
KCAL9’s Jasmine Viel said after deputies found out about the illegal cellphone, they took him into private windowless break room –and according to Carrillo’s attorney — they slammed him into a refrigerator.
Defense attorneys argued that Carrillo became combative as deputies tried to handcuff him and needed to use force to get him under control.
But the jury was shown a photo of bruises and red marks on both of Carrillo’s wrists from the handcuffs.
Carrillo had previously won a civil rights suit in the case. Today’s verdict finally means closure, his lawyer told Viel.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Jim McDonnell made the following statement:
“From my first day as Sheriff, I have made crystal clear my expectation that all members of this Department will be held to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and constitutional policing. When an employee engages in acts of dishonesty or mistreats members of our community, he or she acts contrary to our mission, violates public trust, and will appropriately be held accountable through both our justice system as well as this Department’s discipline system. This verdict — and the past acts of a few — should not be viewed as a reflection of the integrity, dedication and deep commitment to public service by the many members of this department who have dedicated their careers to protection of our community.”
When the deputies are sentenced on November 2, some of them face up to 40 years in prison.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)em>