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L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Who Sued Over Presence of ‘The Executioners’ Deputy Gang Is Member of Another Deputy Gang Called ‘The Gladiators’

The Los Angeles Times reported that a police officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revealed a suspicious tattoo in court during a civil trial. The officer, Jaime Juarez, was testifying in court on May 25, 2023, in a civil case brought by another police officer, when he raised his pant leg in front of the court room and exposed an image painted on his leg. The civil case was initiated in 2020 when Sheriff’s Department officer Larry Waldie sued LA County for retaliation after, he claimed, he opposed as acting captain a group he thought was in control of the Compton station. That group is called “The Executioners” and is alleged to be an assortment of various police officers within the Sheriff’s Department. The Executioners is an example of what is termed “deputy gangs,” which have drawn attention and controversy and court cases over the past 50 years.

The image on Juarez’s leg was reportedly a skeleton bearing a rifle and wearing a helmet on its skull, a common image connected to the Executioners. As he unveiled the markings, Juarez elaborated on how he received it. He went to a small gathering at a home in Pomona. He claimed to not have known many people there, save one, the guy who invited him. His acquaintance had the same tattoo, an ink design you have to be approved by vote to get, according to testimony in the case.

Waldie claimed in his suit that during his time as acting captain, Juarez, the then scheduling deputy, approached him with a list of replacements for his own position. Waldie claimed that he had believed Juarez to be a member of the deputy gang and refused to take any of his suggestions for replacements because he wanted a scheduling deputy who was not a member of the group. Juarez then allegedly worked to create a slowdown in the pace of work, and when Waldie complained to his superiors, Juarez was transferred out. But when Waldie eventually applied to be permanent captain of Compton station, he was quickly pushed from the running, not even making it into the top 10 contenders – a result he determined was retaliation for opposing the deputy gang. County lawyers countered that there were more qualified candidates and that Waldie himself was a tattooed member of another deputy gang called the Gladiators, members of which, they claim, he gave priority to.

The entire trial, as the LA Times noted in its reporting, has shown how difficult uncovering reliable information about secret groups within law enforcement can be. The sheriff for LA County has reportedly decided to “eradicate” deputy gangs and has established an office within the department geared toward that aim. Yet even as the current deputy has admitted that these deputy gangs exist, many, like former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, refuse to admit that they do. Villanueva in particular issued a cease-and-desist message to the LA County Board of Supervisors in 2022 in an effort to get its members to stop using the term.

Juarez, during his testimony, described the tattooing parties and the votes for who could get the tattoo and explained that the tattoo features a number indicating what number of the group one is. His has an 18, indicating that he is 18th person to receive the tattoo, of at least 40 according to his testimony.

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