Andres Guardado was shot five times in the back on June 18 by Miguel Vega, 30, an LA County Sheriff’s county deputy who has now been revealed to be a part of a police gang. Guardado was an 18-year-old unofficial security guard at a car shop in Gardena whose shooting sparked protests about police brutality. Now whistleblower Deputy Art Gonzalez testified that more than a dozen deputies have matching tattoos that identify them as “Executioners” and Vega was a prospective member.
“There are parties after shootings. They call them ‘998 parties.’ Some people say it’s to celebrate the deputy is alive. Others say it’s to celebrate that they’re going to be ‘inking’ somebody.” He added, “I now call them a gang because that’s what gangs do – they beat up other people.”
The sworn testimony was obtained by Spectrum 1 News for a separate case on excessive force filed against LA County. Vega was allegedly “chasing ink” which the publication reports is slang for attempting to impress the Executioners to then be able to join the group. The violent organization inside the Compton Sheriff’s station is also reportedly common knowledge among deputies and the gang’s alleged leader controlled the work schedule leading to an increase in arrests.
Panish Shea and Boyle LLP – the law firm representing the Guardado family – confirmed to the publication that they are looking into the allegations.
“It is very disturbing – to say the least – that gangs are commonly known to exist within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. These reports go to the heart of our concerns that the Sheriff’s Department promotes and harbors a culture of violence against the public.”
There is no body cam footage of the shooting because a program designed to provide cameras to deputies has been stalled for years, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The sheriff also said his department is investigating the claims made by Gonzalez and has already relieved two deputies of duty and transferred six others. Spectrum 1 News reports Gonzalez is on leave from the department and he told them he fears for his life. His testimony inspired two more deputies to come forward with similar stories of the Compton station gang.
Spectrum News 1 requested a comment from Vega’s attorney but did not hear back. Three complaints have been lodged against Vega while he was assigned to Compton station where one determined his conduct “could’ve been better” the Los Angeles Times reports. One case remains pending and the other one was for using unreasonable force that was determined to have been reasonable.
The family requested an autopsy that revealed he had no drugs or alcohol in his system and that he died from the gun shots to the back. “Our son did not deserve to die this way,” they said in a statement. “Andres was a good boy, he was our son and he had so much life ahead of him.”