Los Angeles County Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles County Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

A sheriff’s deputy who alleges he was repeatedly intimidated, harassed and ultimately removed from duty for protesting abuses of male and female inmates is suing the county, court papers obtained by City News Service show.

Deputy Ronald Brock alleges that he was repeatedly warned by supervisors and other deputies to keep quiet or face unwanted consequences. He alleges a “veiled threat” came from Lt. Mark Guerrero, who he says told him about how North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un executed his uncle and the latter’s family members for being disloyal.

“Lt. Guerrero told plaintiff that if something happened to a person for reporting misconduct, LASD would not be responsible,” according to the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Wednesday.

Guerrero is named in the lawsuit along with former Sheriff Lee Baca, ex- Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Sgt. Kimberly Milroy. The allegations include retaliation, race and age discrimination, wrongful termination, intentional infliction or emotional distress and defamation.

Brock is seeking unspecified damages.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told CNS the “department has not been served with this lawsuit or had the opportunity to review it.” She declined further comment.

According to the complaint, the 48-year-old Brock, who is black, began working for the LASD in March 2010 after previously being a reserve officer with the then-Compton Police Department and a lieutenant with the county Office of Public Safety.

He was given a three-month orientation assignment at the Men’s Central Jail, where his training officer was a member of a large group of deputies dubbed the “2000 Boys,” a fraternal group that worked on the second floor and similar to another clique called the “3000 Boys” who toiled on the third floor.

Brock alleges he saw abuses of inmates by “2000 Boys” deputies and complained, which led Guerrero, Milroy and others to engage in “a relentless campaign to ostracize, harass, demoralize, threaten, discriminate and retaliate against plaintiff.”

Brock says that in April 2010, he was about to handcuff an inmate when members of the “2000 Boys” punched, kicked and stomped on the prisoner as he was lying on the ground. The deputies also used their flashlights to pummel the man, the suit alleges.

Brock says he was “shocked” by what he saw, but the deputies warned him afterward to not take part in the official report of the incident. He complained to two sergeants, but one told him not to say anything until he completed his one-year probationary period, according to the suit.

The next month, Sgt. Mark Renfrow ordered Brock to fire a stun gun at an inmate who was not aggressive toward any deputy, the suit states.

“The bloodied and battered inmate was then handcuffed and taken away for medical attention,” according to the lawsuit.

Brock alleges he was told by Renfrow to falsify a statement in a report of the incident to state that the inmate was trying to punch a deputy, or else he would be determined to be insubordinate.

Brock “eventually relented to the incredible pressure and wrote in the report that the inmate was punching at (the deputy),” according to his court papers.

Brock says he later received a note from inmates stating they heard deputies saying they wanted to bring false allegations against him in retaliation for his complaints.

Brock was granted a request to transfer to the Twin Towers jail in September 2010 and he was promoted to the rank of senior deputy in May 2012. His new status prompted his transfer to the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, which houses female inmates, the suit states.

While at the CRDF, he alleges he was told by Milroy, his supervisor, to lie to a nurse and say a deputy was not available to escort an injured inmate to a hospital.

Milroy “engaged in constant harassment and attempted bullying” of Brock and “tried to sabotage his job performance,” the suit alleges. Brock claims Milroy also denied a chaplain access to conduct religious services for a period of months.

During a meeting to discuss their grievances, one inmate said she was not allowed to come out of her cell during an asthma attack to get an inhaler, so she was forced to use a plastic bag to help her breathe, the suit says.

Brock says he complained when he found out that some mail and hygiene items were being withheld from inmates, but nothing was done. He was singled out and isolated for not complying with the LASD’s efforts to “operate outside the confines of the law” by “working in the gray,” a phrase Tanaka used in advocating that deputies try and circumvent department policy relating to inmate treatment and discipline, according to the lawsuit.

Brock’s suit states he was relieved of duty for psychological reasons in December 2013 and not reinstated, even though he was cleared by independent doctors to return to work. He says he was replaced by a “substantially younger, less-seasoned deputy” who was not black.

City News Service

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