Alex Villanueva
Photo courtesy of LACoSheriff via Twitter

The mother of an inmate who died in 2021 while in custody is suing Los Angeles County and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, alleging the 27-year-old man succumbed to a beating rather than drugs as asserted by deputies.

Terry Lovett’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges negligence and civil rights violations. The mother of the late Jalani Lovett seeks unspecified damages.

An LASD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Wednesday.

Jalani Lovett died last Sept. 22, allegedly from fentanyl and heroin toxicity, according to the suit, which further states he was housed in a Men’s Central Jail cell isolated from other inmates.

“However … Jalani Lovett was a healthy 27-year old young man at the time of his death and his abrupt death at such a young age was unexpected and suspicious,” according to the suit, which further states the inmate was more likely “either beaten to death by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies, or Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies permitted another person or persons to beat Jalani Lovett to death.”

Upon his death, the inmate had multiple abrasions, bruises, contusions, loss of teeth, a broken or fractured arm and other marks “clearly indicating Jalani Lovett was beaten and tortured,” the suit states.

Lovett’s cell was in the 3000 block in the jail, allegedly the home of a the 3000 Boys, a “violent deputy gang” made up of LASD deputies, the suit states.

“The 3000 Boys hold de facto control over the Men’s Central Jail,” the suit states. “Instead of protecting and serving, deputies who are part of the 3000 Boys terrorize individuals and operate the deputy gang similarly to a street gang.”

The 3000 Boys have gone unchecked for more than a decade and continue to operate “with impunity and cause deaths of individuals confined to the Men’s Central Jail,” the suit alleges.

Jalani Lovett was either beaten and killed by members of the 3000 Boys, or the group “caused the death of Jalani Lovett in some form,” the suit states.

Terry Lovett has lost the support and love of her son and also experienced pain and suffering, the suit states.

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