Secret societies of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies with matching skeleton tattoos have long been a liability in cases in which inked deputies are accused of excessive force and harassment.
Now, county taxpayers will pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a 31-year-old man who was shot and killed when deputies opened fire on him during a foot chase in 2016. Deputies claimed the man, Donta Taylor, had a handgun, but no weapon was found.
The settlement, approved by county supervisors Tuesday, is the largest deal in recent memory tied to a case featuring evidence about inked clubs of deputies.
Samuel Aldama, one of two deputies who shot at Taylor, admitted under oath to having a tattoo on his calf depicting a skull with a rifle and a military-style helmet emerging from flames. The letters “CPT,” for Compton, appear on the helmet, representing the station where Aldama worked.
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