Last year, I sat in a booth at Original Mike's in Santa Ana and listened to Assistant Sheriff Jo Ann Galisky explain–quite logically, in her mind–that jail deputies in Orange County have never used excessive force because jail deputies always behave. Why? Because, Galisky assured me, deputies are the good guys, and folks in custody are bad guys. The expression on her face revealed a frustration that I didn't buy from her cookie-cutter position. After all, I'd seen gory pictures of what groups of deputies had done to handcuffed inmates: punctured eyeballs, crushed testicles, shattered wrists and cracked skulls. Besides, my sources–including honest, emotionally mature guards–provided me information about how a few of their colleagues routinely craved violence. Galisky and I agreed to disagree about what was unacceptable violence.
So today brings important news that's hardly a shocker: Paul Pringle at the Los Angeles Times writes, “Videos show use of force at OC Jail.” Here's the opening of the A1 article:
Orange County sheriff's deputies repeatedly shocked a handcuffed prisoner with a Taser, even after he had been strapped into a restraint chair, slammed him onto the floor with a 'knee drop' and appeared to hit him in the head while he sat passively on a bench, jail video show.
The grainy but graphic images from 2006 show Matthew Fleuret, 24, being put into a holding cell at Orange County Jail and held on the floor by at least five deputies, one of whom pulls Fleuret's arms back and sharply up toward his head while others repeatedly shock him with a Taser over a period of about 13 minutes. Fleuret's lawyer says he was hit 11 times with a stun gun during the incident.
Pringle obtained a copy of an internal sheriff's report on the incident. Are you seated? Deputies claimed they were forced to attack Fleuret because of their sadistic nature. Oh, Jo Ann, put that yellow highlighter down. Of course, I jest. Guards wouldn't necessarily confess the truth.
Meanwhile, Christine Hanley and Stuart Pfeifer at the Times write today that Acting Sheriff Jack Anderson, a stooge of indicted ex-Sheriff Mike Carona, is under investigation for trying to intimidate the San Clemente City Council last November. In the wake of Carona's indictment, the council had contemplated telling the Orange County Board of Supervisors that Carona-harassed former Lieutenant Bill Hunt would be a good replacement upon the sheriff's resignation.
The thought sent shudders though the Carona-Galisky-Anderson-Bishop Cesspool (CGABC). Anderson (pictured) appeared in uniform at the council and, speaking either naturally as if in the fifth grade or with peanut butter in his mouth, told the panel of elected officials that such a letter would jeopardize the relationship between the city and the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The logic was positively Galisky-esque.
The Orange County Register–whose current marketing campaign is, I believe, “Now with even less content!”–got scooped on both stories.
One last thing: Thanks to brave Deputies X and Y for the new info on the CGABC.
— R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.