Three Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were convicted Wednesday of beating a handcuffed man bloody and then lying to cover up the abuse, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A federal jury deliberated for only four hours before returning guilty verdicts against two deputies and a former sergeant, who supervised the incident and boasted about the assault in a text message to a colleague.
The trial, in which two other deputies testified about the coverup and a "code of silence" in law enforcement, was the first public airing of brutality charges to stem from a wide-ranging FBI probe into the county's jails. Nine other deputies were previously convicted of other crimes, including obstructing the FBI's investigation.
Rank-and-file officers face more charges of physical abuse in two upcoming trials, while last month former Assistant Sheriff Paul Tanaka, once the second-highest-ranking official in the department, and a captain were indicted on obstruction charges.
The weeklong trial centered on the February 2011 arrest of Gabriel Carrillo, who had come with his girlfriend and grandmother to visit his brother, who was an inmate in the Men's Central Jail. He and his girlfriend were handcuffed and taken into custody after deputies found them carrying cellphones, which is against state law. Carrillo mouthed off repeatedly to the deputies.
The case hinged on the question of whether Carrillo was handcuffed at the time of the beating. Prosecutors said he was shackled and had done nothing to justify the barrage of punches and pepper spray that deputies administered as he was pinned face-down on the floor.