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Officials probe secret clique in L.A. County sheriff's gang unit

April 20, 2012 |  8:35 am

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating a hard-charging clique of aggressive deputies known as the Jump Out Boys
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating a hard-charging clique of aggressive deputies known as the Jump Out Boys.

The investigation was triggered by the discovery of a document that suggests the group embraces shootings as a badge of honor.

The pamphlet is relatively short, sources said, and explains that deputies earn admission into the group through the endorsement of members. The sources stressed that the internal affairs investigation is still in its early stages and that little is known about the Jump Out Boys' behavior or membership.

L.A. Now Live: Chat about the secret sheriff's clique at 9 a.m.

Still, Sheriff's Department officials are concerned that the group represents another unsanctioned clique within the ranks, a problem the department has been grappling with for decades.

Last year, the department fired a group of deputies who all worked on the third, or "3000," floor of Men's Central Jail, after the group fought two fellow deputies at an employee Christmas party and allegedly punched a female deputy in the face.

Sheriff's Department officials later said the men had formed an aggressive "3000" clique that used gang-like three-finger hand signs.

Other cliques -- with names like Grim Reapers, Little Devils, Regulators and Vikings -- have been accused of breeding a gang-like mentality in which deputies falsify police reports, perjure themselves and cover up misconduct.

The investigation into the Jump Out Boys is focused on the department's Gang Enforcement Team. The unit is divided into two platoons of relatively autonomous deputies whose job it is to target neighborhoods where gang violence and intimidation are a concern.

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-- Robert Faturechi

Photo: A bench with restraints in the medical area of Men's Central Jail. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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