The Sheriff’s department is under fire after a deputy filed a claim alleging the Compton Sheriff’s station is overrun by “gangs”. The deputy details a tattoo that enjoins the “gangs” members. Similar allegations surrounding a “Vikings” tattoo plagued former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka when a federal judge deemed it a symbol of “neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang.”
Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Councilwomen Michelle Chambers, Tana McCoy and Emma Sharif were joined by City Attorney Damon Brown for an early morning press conference on Tuesday, August 4th, near Compton City Hall to call on state and federal to investigate the station.
“My family was pulled over by Compton deputies for proceeding forward and not stopping at the limit line,” said Compton Mayor Aja Brown. “My rights were violated and I was disrespected by deputies with no knowledge or respect for Compton residents.”
Brown went further to say the deputies asked to search her car for drugs to which she claimed “she doesn’t look like someone who is trafficking drugs” especially with her husband and young daughter in the car with her.
Brown explained that her husband filmed the incident and residents are urging her to release the footage.
In the wake of the George Floyd killing there has been a nationwide movement to either defund local police departments and/or establish new protocols for law enforcement officials to follow.
Compton is not an exception.
Video footage emerged on May 31st when Compton resident Dalvin Price was pulled over by Compton deputies for alleging participating in a looting at a local pharmacy.
On June 18th Andres Guardado was killed by Compton deputies assigned to patrol the unincorporated area of the Compton/Gardena border. It was alleged that Guardado was working as an unlicensed security guard and possessed a gun when approached by deputies.
This prompted Compton officials to hold a special council meeting on June 29th with Sheriff Alex Villanueva to clarify if the city was paying for the deputies involved in the Guardado shooting.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown suggested the creation of Compton Community Policing Standards for the Compton deputies to follow, however, Villanueva explained the County of Los Angeles establishes the contract language and cost of services.
2UrbanGirls was able to inquire of Sheriff Villanueva why friction is increasing between the department and Mayor Aja Brown.
“Compton Station Captain LaTanya Clark had already answered all of the mayor’s questions,” explained Villanueva. “I’m not sure what the purpose was of the mayor’s press conference but if she approaches us and asks questions we will provide her answers.”
On Monday, August 3rd, Compton elected officials met to vote on calling for a special election to be held in November where voters could weigh in on the new policing standards, which would only be in an “advisory” capacity, but the motion failed 3-2 which outraged Mayor Brown.
She went on her social media outlet to slam the city’s senior citizens for spreading “false information” about the election’s costs and holding the city “hostage” by contacting their respective councilmembers to ask them to vote against the special election.
“A couple of week’s ago, in a council meeting City Clerk Alita Godwin was asked,” said long-time Compton resident Robert Ray, who was a one-time volunteer at the Compton Sheriff’s station. “She said she didn’t have the exact numbers but thought it was around $400,000 so, it came from the city clerk.”
Mayor Brown continues her quest to alter the city’s law enforcement contract, which if successful, could affect all contract cities that use the Sheriff’s services.
The August 4th press conference was to call for California State Attorney Xavier Becerra and the U.S. Justice Department to investigate if the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies assigned to the Compton station have engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct, excessive force, discriminatory policing and improper stops, searches or arrests.
Deputy Austreberto Gonzalez anonymously reported a colleague to the department’s internal affairs unit and claims he has been harassed and retaliated since doing so.
He alleges the Executioners, a band of deputies with matching tattoos that wields vast power at the Compton station, he alleged in a claim filed against Los Angeles County. The claim says the group — sporting tattoos of a skull with Nazi imagery and an AK-47 — celebrates deputy shootings and the induction of new members with “inking parties.”
“Perhaps Mayor Brown but when we had the first claim that had an issue to do with a sub-group we conducted an investigation and the District Attorney declined to prosecute,” said Villanueva. “And we immediately went to the FBI and asked them to participate in our investigation.”
The tattoo in questions was first reported back in June 2019 when the family of Donta Taylor settled a lawsuit for $7 million after he was killed for allegedly having a gun that was never found.
The county corrective action plan, which provides a summary about why a settlement is justified, makes no mention of Aldama’s tattoo or the existence of an inked group at the Compton station. The county and the Sheriff’s Department have traditionally shied away from acknowledging whether the groups may be linked to unlawful or out-of-policy behavior.
The tattoo has now re-emerged as the focal point of Compton’s asking for an outside investigation.
“Quiet as kept, something like this is probably already in place but if I was the mayor I’d make this move publicly too,” said a former Sheriff’s deputy who refused to be identified for this article. “Compton Mayor Aja Brown is playing politics at its finest, and since she is up for re-election and wants to be seen as ‘going hard’ on the Sheriff’s department.”
Residents are perplexed as to why the mayor would use public safety as a race and wedge issue in order to advance her desire of self-promotion.