Late one night in September last year, a party for Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies was winding down.
New deputies working in East L.A. were celebrating their success completing a probation period and their status as full-fledged members of the Sheriff’s Department.
But the gathering took on an ominous feel for some when several older deputies showed up.
According to legal claims filed against the county Thursday by seven deputies, the men belonged to the Banditos, a clique of deputies whose members are alleged to routinely harass young Latino officers at the station and to mark their membership with matching tattoos of a skeleton with a sombrero, bandolier and pistol.
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