Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department filed a legal claim earlier this month alleging that a gang-like group of deputies known as the Banditos scare them more than the criminals on their beats. Five young deputies and two veteran deputies say that they were victimized by the group of officers that form the Banditos, and they say that the county failed to do anything about it. This claim is a pre-cursor to a pending lawsuit.
This shocking story is still unfolding, and if the allegations of these Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies hold up to be valid, this may be one of the worst scenarios of the creation of a hostile work environment we’ve encountered. If you have been affected at work by bullying, harassment, or other negative behaviors, please contact Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers and our Los Angeles hostile work environment team right away.
According to the complainants in this case, the deputies foster a gang culture. Each of them has a matching tattoo featuring a skeleton wearing a sombrero, pistol and bandoleer. This group—the Banditos—has been the source of lawsuits in the past and is often mentioned in complaints of secretive cliques and gangs within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. According to an attorney representing the deputies in this case, “The hostile environment at the police station has led to the deputies fearing their fellow officers more than the criminals in the street.”
This story began in September of 2018 when the victims in the incident say the Banditos assaulted young officers of Latino descent while deputies looked on and failed to intervene. In one case, a deputy was punched in the face, choked and strangled. The newly elected sheriff, Alex Villaneuva, attended the party. Four of the so-called Banditos were placed on leave following the incident, although the deputies say that the Banditos retaliation has not stopped. In one instance, one of the complaining officers says that his gun was emptied of bullets in an attempt to “set him up to be killed outside in the field.”
The complainants allege that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department failed to discipline the members of the Banditos who participated in the incident. They also say that the department encouraged the Banditos to retaliate against the seven claimants. According to them, the Banditos “exert power over the deputies on the beat in a manner similar to prisoners running a prison yard, and target young Latino deputies, overloading them with calls and not providing back up on dangerous calls in the field when back up is required.”
At Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers, we are steadfast advocates for working clients, and we’re ready to go toe to toe with employers who allow hostile work environments to prevail. You have a right to feel safe at work. Set up your confidential, no-obligation appointment with our compassionate Los Angeles hostile work environment attorney now by calling 310-527-6994 or clicking here.