Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, asked the U.S. Justice Department Wednesday to investigate the reported existence of a gang of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies at the Compton Sheriff’s Station who call themselves the “Executioners.”
Waters sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting the action.
“I write to ask that the United States Department of Justice take immediate action to address the reported existence of a rogue, violent gang of law enforcement officials, who call themselves the `Executioners,’ operating within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, specifically the LASD Compton station,” she wrote.
The LASD disputed the claims made in Waters’ request and sought to shift the issue to the county’s homelessness crisis.
“The claims made by Congresswoman Maxine Waters are unproven allegations which she is portraying as facts,” the department said in a statement Wednesday. “The `whistle blower’ lawsuit she cites was dismissed with prejudice for lack of evidence. What we do have evidence of is the explosion of homelessness in Maxine Waters’ district and throughout Los Angeles County. The peculiar timing of these allegations appear to be a distraction from the many failures, at all levels of government, to address this homelessness crisis.”
Waters wrote that a deputy acting as a whistleblower provided sworn testimony identifying more than a dozen deputies with matching tattoos to symbolize their association with the alleged gang.
“Deputies at the LASD Compton Station reportedly `chase ink’, a slang term for a deputy who attempts to win favor with the `Executioners’ by committing violent acts in hopes of receiving the group tattoo denoting gang membership,” Waters wrote.
“The gang allegedly sets illegal arrest quotas, threatens and harasses fellow deputies, and holds parties after shootings, called `998 parties,’ which are in part a celebration that a new deputy will be inked by the gang,” Waters said. “The tattoos worn by the police gang reportedly feature Nazi imagery in disturbing evidence of the violence perpetrated against the Los Angeles community by the LASD gang.”
The whistleblower reportedly identified two deputies involved in the death of 18-year-old Gardena resident Andres Guardado in June 2020 as members of the “Executioners.”
The shooting of Dijon Kizzee in South Los Angeles in August 2020 was also described by Waters as an ” example of the LASD’s excessive and brutal tactics in the Los Angeles community.”
The sheriff’s department has said Guardado was reaching for the gun when he was shot while working as what has been described as an informal security guard for a nearby auto body shop. Guardado’s family has filed a lawsuit against the county alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.
Kizzee, 29, was killed after sheriff’s deputies allegedly tried to stop him for riding a bicycle in the wrong direction. The sheriff’s department contends Kizzee was fatally shot after he picked up a handgun he had dropped during a struggle with one of the deputies.
The LASD’s statement said the fatal shootings cited by Waters “have been thoroughly investigated and turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Justice System Integrity Division for further investigation and review, along with monitoring by The California Office of the Attorney General and The Federal Bureau of Investigation.”