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Two L.A. County deputies face assault charges in San Diego

December 17, 2012 |  5:27 pm

Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies pleaded not guilty Monday in San Diego Superior Court to felony charges stemming from an off-duty street brawl in the Gaslamp entertainment zone.

Miguel Antonio Aguilar, 29, and Derek Robin Vonkleist, 28, face charges of aggravated battery and assault likely to produce great bodily injury. The two were arrested shortly after midnight Dec. 7 and booked into San Diego County jail.

Aguilar has been with the L.A. County department for five years, Vonkleist for four, and both were assigned to the downtown jail. Each is free on $35,000 bail.

Under department policy, both were suspended with pay after being arrested. Once arraigned on felony charges, that shifted to suspended without pay.

Steve Whitmore, spokesman for L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, said, "This is absolutely unacceptable behavior, and the sheriff takes it very seriously. No one is above the law."

The next court hearing is set for Jan. 2. If convicted on both counts, each man faces a maximum possible prison sentence of four years, officials said.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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