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L.A. deputies accused of punching and kicking inmate

April 5, 2010 |  7:36 am
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has quietly filed assault charges against three sheriff's deputies accused of punching and kicking a jail inmate after he was disrespectful to a guard, according to court records.

Prosecutors have built their case around a sheriff's deputy who told investigators he witnessed the beating and later met with other deputies to discuss how to cover it up, the records show.

The charges mark a rare criminal filing against deputies working in the jails: It is the third excessive-force prosecution of jail deputies in a decade, according to law enforcement records and interviews. Inmates frequently allege that deputies have used excessive force, but law enforcement officials say such cases are difficult to prove or prosecute.

Inmate Gabriel Vasquez had a fractured cheekbone and injuries to his left ear, rib cage and face in the January 2006 incident. Sheriff's investigators initially discounted his claim that deputies caused the injuries, concluding that they were either self-inflicted or caused by other inmates, according to court records.Read the full story here.

--Jack Leonard

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