LOS ANGELES - Six deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department were caught on camera using excessive force on an inmate, who was arrested for a non-violent crime, an attorney representing the inmate alleged Monday.
The incident happened at LA County's Inmate Reception Center. The video shows inmate Jesus Soto Jara being compliant before he is ultimately attacked by six officers on video, the lawyer alleged. He was subsequently pushed to an area that is off-camera and further pummeled, he added.
According to his attorney, Soto Jara was arrested last week for drug possession with a firearm. He took a two-year deal during his court appearance in Pomona last Thursday.
Soto Jara's attorney said that his sources claim that a scuffle happened immediately above the camera view involving two other inmates, but, "Mr. Soto had nothing to do with that incident. He was compliant with the officers there."
He also alleged that the officers knew and intentionally continued to beat Sota Jara out of the view of the camera.
"It was out of view on purpose," he claimed. "They knew what was happening."
The inmate's attorney said that his client is in need of further medical treatment because he is suffering from injuries to his back, head and left eye, but he added that he has no pictures of the injuries. He was also unaware of whether there was any documentation of the injuries after they were initially received.
LASD has responded to Soto Jara's attorney's claims, calling them "categorically incorrect and misleading."
"He merely provided a fragment of the facts surrounding the incident, including the inmate was intentionally taken out of camera view and beaten. This is incorrect, in fact the LASD has multiple cameras covering the entire incident," Deputy Raquel Utley said in a statement to FOX 11.
According to Utley, Soto Jara was in fact involved in an argument with another inmate before the interaction with deputies, and took off his shirt to fight that inmate.
"Mr. Romero claimed the contact with [Soto Jara] was ‘unprovoked’ and he was 100% not involved," Utley said. "This was inaccurate."
Soto Jara's lawyers claim a violation of civil rights and battery and are hoping for a viable motion to vacate his recent sentencing.
LASD tells FOX 11 that the investigation has been referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau, the Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Office of the Inspector General.
This isn't the first time LASD deputies have been accused of using excessive force. Several top-ranking officials have filed lawsuits against LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, accusing him of a coverup in connection with a leaked jail video showing a deputy with his department kneeling on a handcuffed inmate's head.