Trial begins for deputies charged in inmate assault

Posted by Debbie L. Sklar |
May 10, 2016

inmate abuseTwo deputy sheriffs beat and pepper-sprayed a mentally ill county jail inmate without provocation and then lied in reports to conceal the illegal assault, a prosecutor told a federal jury Tuesday, but the defense countered that the lawmen were only doing their job and never lied about any aspect of the incident.

Bryan Brunsting and Jason “Johnson” Branum are charged with federal civil rights violations and making false statements about the March 22, 2010, encounter at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

It is the latest in a string of trials in Los Angeles federal court stemming from the FBI’s multi-year investigation into brutality and other misconduct in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

In her opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Greer Dotson said the alleged beating of pretrial detainee Philip Jones in a hidden hallway that lacked surveillance cameras was designed to both punish the inmate for swearing at a custody assistant and to teach a rookie officer — whom Brunsting was training — a lesson about how the jail really worked.

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