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Los Angeles Spends Millions Settling Cases Involving Police Force ‘Secret Societies’

As our nation continues to reel from a number of troubling, police-involved incidents this year, there have been no shortage of ways in which the anti-cop crowd have chosen to vilify our law enforcement officers.

This racial revolution, which began after the horrendous death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, has transformed from a movement aimed simply at reassessing the racial inequalities of our nation, to a lurch toward lawlessness – at least in the eyes of many who still back the blue.  The protesters and demonstrators have moved on from simply seeking justice for Floyd, and others like Breonna Taylor, and have launched massive efforts to defund police all around the nation.

This is a hard sell, however, and those who wish to see police forces stripped of their power have made some bizarre claims in their push to vilify our nation’s law enforcement agencies.

The latest claim out of California is simply wild.

Los Angeles County has paid out roughly $55 million in settlements in cases in which sheriff’s deputies were alleged to belong to a secret society, records obtained by The Times show, illuminating the entrenched nature of a subculture that has plagued the Sheriff’s Department for years.

The figure comes from a list that includes payouts in dozens of lawsuits and claims involving deputies associated with tattooed groups accused of glorifying an aggressive style of policing. The report, prepared by L.A. County attorneys, lists nearly 60 cases, some of them still pending, and names eight specific cliques.

The county has paid out nearly $21 million in cases that began in the last 10 years alone, according to the document.

Apparently, this is nothing new.

The high cost underscores how these deputy groups — with monikers such as the Vikings, Regulators, 3000 Boys and the Banditos — have operated out of several Sheriff’s Department stations and jails for decades, exhibiting what critics have long alleged are the violent, intimidating tactics similar in some ways to criminal street gangs. The cases involve incidents that date to 1990.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said that he put measures in place in February that prohibit deputies from participating in cliques.

“The fact that I’ve had to address these issues which have been festering since 1990 is an illustration of the failure of past sheriffs from addressing the issue head on,” he said in a statement, adding that he transferred leadership personnel from at least one station to combat the clique problem and is holding employees accountable if they fail to uphold the new policy.

Those who’ve seen these “cliques” firsthand offer a different perspective, intimating that these groups help boost morale and camaraderie among officers – something that is highly valued in a profession as stressful and as dangerous as policing.

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