Jesus Alegria was skateboarding with some friends at a Compton park on an afternoon in April when Deputy Miguel Vega and his partner, Chris Hernandez, pulled up.
Hands on their holsters, the deputies approached a group of teens. Alegria, 24, and his friends shouted at them to stop harassing the kids. The deputies, he said, rounded on them and words were exchanged. Vega suddenly grabbed Alegria’s wrists and shoved him into the back of the patrol car. The deputy didn’t handcuff him and didn’t ask Alegria’s name.
The wild minutes that followed ended with Alegria bleeding from the head and eventually triggered a criminal investigation into the deputies, who also face a civil lawsuit filed by Alegria that alleges they kidnapped him and then lied to cover up their actions.
This account of what happened is based on interviews with Alegria, his father and others, as well as the lawsuit, video footage, and law enforcement and medical records. Lawyers for the deputies declined to discuss the case. Sheriff’s officials did not respond to questions about Alegria’s claims, leaving it unclear whether the department challenges his account of what happened.
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