Los Angeles News

Dead inmate's family files complaint against county

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An independent report was released Thursday on alleged abuse of inmates in Los Angeles County jails. The death of an inmate last week raised more questions about the treatment of prisoners by sheriff's deputies as the department is investigated by the FBI.

Jorge Rosales, 18, died last Thursday while incarcerated at the Twin Towers Jail downtown.

"He had a seizure, and they tried to bring him back to life, but he just didn't come back," said Gustavo Rosales, Jorge's brother. "That's all I really know."

His family's attorney, Luis Carrillo, says that two days before Rosales died a deputy had punched him in the head. Rosales allegedly asked for medical treatment but he never got it.

"The medical needs of the prisoners in here are not being met," said the family's attorney, Luis Carrillo. "A blow to the head is a serious injury. Doctors require constant monitoring of the patient."

The sheriff's department has been under fire for the treatment of prisoners in its jails.

Thursday the County Office of Independent Review issued a report and found that more than two dozen deputies have been disciplined for using excessive force on inmates or for trying to cover up abuse.

"Certainly most of the deputies who go through their jail tour do not commit misconduct," said Michael Genacco, head of the L.A. County Office of Independent Review. "But there are some who are not fit for the job, or as a result of living in the jail environment, an ungrounded deputy might stray into excessive-force issues."

Sheriff's officials say the Rosales death happened a week ago. They are still investigating to figure out what happened.

"The autopsy was performed on Monday and they ruled that no significant findings at this time," said Nicole Nishida, L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. spokesperson. "However, it has been deferred for future testing, which could take a while."

All of this comes as the FBI is already investigating the department for several cases of possible misconduct.

Carrillo wants the Justice Department to get involved as well.

"We believe that the sheriff's department is incapable of investigating its own department, it's own members, therefore a federal investigation is required to get to the root of the problem," said Carrillo.

The family's attorney says now that they've filed a formal complaint the next step is possibly a lawsuit. They say they don't want this to happen to anyone else.

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los angeles county sheriff's department, los angeles news, carlos granda
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