Deputies accused of being in station gangs cost L.A. County taxpayers $55 million, records show

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Community members speak out at a town hall in East Los Angeles on July 10, 2019, protesting the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department's handling of the Banditos. (Maya Lau / Los Angeles Times)

Community members speak out at a town hall in East Los Angeles on July 10, 2019, protesting the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the Banditos. (Maya Lau / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County has paid out roughly $55 million in settlements since 1990 in cases in which sheriff’s deputies were alleged to belong to a secret society, records obtained by The Times show.

The figure comes from a list that includes payouts in dozens of lawsuits and claims involving deputies associated with tattooed groups accused of glorifying an aggressive style of policing. The report, prepared by L.A. County attorneys, lists nearly 60 cases, some of them pending, and names eight specific cliques.

The county has paid out nearly $21 million in cases that began in the last 10 years alone.

The high cost underscores how these deputy groups — with monikers such as the Vikings, Regulators, 3000 Boys and the Banditos — have operated out of several Sheriff’s Department stations for decades, exhibiting what critics have long alleged are the violent, intimidating tactics similar in some ways to criminal street gangs.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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