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ACLU: Gays Abused In Los Angeles Jail


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ACLU: Gays Abused In Los Angeles Jail

by The Associated Press

Posted: August 7, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Los Angeles, California) The sheriff's department is investigating claims by the American Civil Liberties Union that gay inmates were publicly called derogatory names and strip searched last month at a county jail.

About 20 gay inmates were forced to remove their clothes in a busy hallway July 19 at the Men's Central Jail while being called names and taunted with vulgar sexual language by some deputies, the ACLU said in a letter to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, citing inmates' claims.

"Such behavior by staff demonstrates a level of immaturity, lack of professionalism, and sadism, which tarnishes the reputation of the entire department," wrote Ricardo Garcia and Jody Kent, who monitor jailhouse issues for the ACLU of Southern California.

The ACLU wanted anti-discrimination training for all deputies.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said jail supervisors launched an investigation two weeks ago. He said the department's Equity Oversight Panel, which investigates discrimination allegations against sheriff's employees, is also reviewing the claims.

"If there is any truth to this, we will certainly act in the appropriate manner," Whitmore said. "Obviously, this is absolutely unacceptable. This flies in the face of everything the sheriff stands for - everything that the department stands for."

County jails segregate gay inmates from other inmates, keeping them in separate dormitories. The gay inmates were returning to their dorms on the third floor when they were allegedly mistreated, ACLU said.

©Associated Press 2005


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