Seven Los Angeles County sheriff’s officers from a gang unit have been placed on leave and are under investigation for forming a secret clique that celebrated police shootings.
The group is allegedly called the “Jump Out Boys” and its members are suspected of identifying themselves with a set of matching tattoos that depict a skull, a pair of playing cards and a pistol – the latter of which included a smoking barrel after the officer is involved in a shooting. The group is part of a larger organization called the Gang Enforcement Team which utilizes semi-autonomous police officers to target armed gang members and confiscate their weapons.
Such independent groups are not sanctioned by the Sheriff’s department, although this is not the first incident of this nature. In 2011, six deputies were fired for being part of a group called “3000” at the Men’s Central Jail which was responsible for gang-like activity; including the use of three-finger hand signals and violence against inmates.
Does fighting an enemy cause you to take on some of their characteristics? What can be done in law enforcement organizations to prevent groups like the Jump Out Boys or 3000 from forming?
Robert Faturechi, staff writer for the L.A. Times