On Twitter, Daily Loud posted a video from an episode of The Breakfast Club radio show.
The caption states: “American journalist Cerise Castle says there is a gang in Los Angeles made up of police officers. They are identified by a tattoo that changes with the more kills they get.”
According to Reuters, this problem has been going on for decades. In an article from March, they reported, “poor, mostly minority communities around the country have complained for decades that some local law enforcement agencies often behave more like racist criminal street gangs than sworn peace officers, unlawfully terrorizing Black and Latino communities.”
Some Twitter users said they weren’t surprised by what Castle said. Racism and general corruption in police departments across the country have been the subject of countless articles, books and documentaries.
1. What Did Cerise Castle Say?
The journalist referenced photos of “hundreds” of tattoos worn by deputy gang members.
“They are numbered and have different designs, “she said. “As their police career goes on and they hurt or kill civilians, you can see in the photos how the tattoo changes.”
“Los Angeles county actually tracks every case that mentions deputy gangs,” she went on. “They have a spreadsheet of all these cases. They know this is happening but no meaningful action or policy change has been made.”
In addition to her appearance on The Breakfast Club, Castle has sounded the alarm on this very issue in other interviews and podcasts.
2. How Did Twitter React?
While some users were skeptical after viewing The Breakfast Club video, others supported Castle’s statements.
3. What Are The Names Of Some Of These Deputy Gangs?
Reuters reports, “at least 18 of these secretive groups have been identified over the years, with macabre names like the Banditos, Jump Out Boys, Executioners and Grim Reapers, according to a 2021 report from the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy.”
These gangs, “create a shadow system of supervision, in conflict with the actual chain of command, and have an us-against-them culture that leads to racial profiling, frequent and excessive use of force, and sometimes deaths.”
4. Where Do These Gangs Operate?
Reuters cites a study from 1992 put out by the County Board of Supervisors:
“Historically, the gangs have formed at mostly white police stations in poor, majority-Black and Latino immigrant communities” in Los Angeles.
Unsurprisingly, more well to do areas like Beverly Hills and Malibu “have never known deputy gangs or cliques.”
5. The Tattoos Have Violent Meanings
Members of these deputy gangs, according to Reuters, bear tattoos which are violent in nature.
“They are tattooed with symbols of violence and death, use hand signals and prison slang, and sometimes ‘tax’ trainee deputies for money or sex – just like many criminal gangs.”
One gang from the early 1990s, The Vikings, had white supremacist and Neo-Nazi ties.
6. The FBI Is Aware Of These Gangs
The FBI cautioned that people with white supremacist leanings were “infiltrating law enforcement,” in an intelligence assessment from 2006.
Reuters writes that “domestic terrorism investigations of white supremacists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.”