Fault Lines

Shadow System: LA’s secretive sheriff ‘gangs’

Fault Lines investigates allegations of violence and intimidation by deputy ‘gangs’ within the LA Sheriff’s Department.

Los Angeles, in the US state of California, has been plagued with gang violence for decades, and has even been called the “gang capital of America”.

But they’re not just on the streets.

Reports and lawsuits allege that there are deputy “gangs” within the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Members have unique tattoos identifying which station they belong to and are accused of using excessive force, and glorifying an aggressive form of policing.

Fault Lines investigates the death of 21-year-old Anthony Vargas. His family alleges that the sheriffs’ deputies who killed him were prospective members of the Banditos – a gang inside the East LA station.