Crime & Justice

4 SoCal officers arrested for allegedly beating, injuring 13 children at camp

File: A weeklong boot camp run by Los Angeles-area police departments that was meant to turn around misbehaving youth left kids with injuries consistent with abuse, investigators said Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
File: A weeklong boot camp run by Los Angeles-area police departments that was meant to turn around misbehaving youth left kids with injuries consistent with abuse, investigators said Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
KNBC-TV

Four police officers have been arrested in connection with beating or injuring 13 children from Southern California at a camp for at-risk children put on by the Huntington Park Police Department and the South Gate Police Department, according to a release from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

The four officers arrested include Marissa Larios and Patrick Nijland of the Huntington Park PD, as well as Carlos Gomez-Marquez and Edgar Gomez of the South Gate PD.

"When they told me the program, it was supposed to be for discipline," mother Veronica Bernal told KPCC Media partner NBC L.A. in June. "It wasn't, they never told me they were gonna beat them or that they were gonna, you know, put them in a dark room."

The 13 alleged victims, according to the Sheriff's Department, are between 12 and 17 years old. They say they were assaulted by drill instructors at the camp. Parents say their children were punched, kicked and stomped on during the camp.

The charges include willful cruelty to a child, criminal threats, criminal conspiracy, criminal battery and abuse under color of authority, according to the release. The camp was held at Camp San Luis Obispo, a California Army National Guard Military Base.

The officers' bail was set at $20,000 and all four posted bond and were released, according to the release. The camp is 17 years old and the sheriff's spokesman said there had never been complaints about the camp before, according to the Associated Press.