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The Retriever

The Retriever University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Student-Run Newspaper. University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Student Newspaper

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04/26/2021

We're hiring!!! Swipe to check out a few of our open positions and see if you'd be a good fit for The Retriever!!!

UMBC’s police department got a call from UMBC Athletics at 12:01 p.m. today saying a threat had been made against member...
03/11/2021

UMBC’s police department got a call from UMBC Athletics at 12:01 p.m. today saying a threat had been made against members of the athletic community. Within minutes, police responded to the call and determined that no threat had been made and that the incident had been taken out of context.

Photo from The Retriever archives.

Two members of UMBC’s ABA, President Manal Murangi and freshman Toni-Ann Pearson had a conversation surrounding the conc...
02/28/2021

Two members of UMBC’s ABA, President Manal Murangi and freshman Toni-Ann Pearson had a conversation surrounding the concept of a black history month. Discussions involved if Black History Month had evolved into being a token, a sham, or even an alleviation for white guilt.
As they unpacked the topic, it remained important to remember that Black history and Black voices do matter -- and not solely during the month of february.

ABA Logo courtesy of Tochi Nwachinemere

Linkree to article in our Bio!

As the month of February comes to an end, here is a list of films and documentaries to watch to help build on your knowl...
02/28/2021

As the month of February comes to an end, here is a list of films and documentaries to watch to help build on your knowledge and understanding of Black history: Uppity, The Black Godfather, Quincy, 13th, LA 92, They Gotta Have Us, and I Am Not Your Negro.

UMBC plans on increasing the number of in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester. The plan includes maintaining socia...
02/17/2021

UMBC plans on increasing the number of in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester. The plan includes maintaining social distancing and mask-wearing on campus, continued symptom tracking and COVID-19 testing. UMBC is waiting to see how Maryland’s vaccination numbers and infection rates change in the coming months before making any final decisions.

Photo courtesy of Monste Soto

After a UMBC student posted queerphobic TikToks, over 50 people reported the student to the UMBC administration & the Of...
12/11/2020

After a UMBC student posted queerphobic TikToks, over 50 people reported the student to the UMBC administration & the Office of Equity & Inclusion. One student, who preferred to remain anonymous, started a petition to push the university to hold the student accountable.

The petition, which now has over 1,800 signatures, states that “even something as small as a public apology” would be sufficient punishment “as many of [UMBC’s] students are feeling alienated and like it's unsafe to attend their learning institution.”

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/umbc-student-reported-for-making-homophobic-tiktoks/

Graphic by Madeline Arbutus

Opinion: The Trump family was the first in White House to not have a dog since Harrison’s presidency in 1897. While this...
12/11/2020

Opinion: The Trump family was the first in White House to not have a dog since Harrison’s presidency in 1897. While this critique falls relatively low to the other criticisms of the Trump administration, many are still happy to see Biden’s administration return dogs to the White House.

Of course, the presence or absence of a dog has no real effect on a president’s leadership ability or policies. However, having a dog certainly doesn’t hurt. As former President Harry Truman once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/if-you-want-a-friend-in-washington-get-a-dog/

Photo taken from the dogs’ Twitter account, .

UMBC senior and CCBC alumnus Kyle Meyer’s “FrankenShow Poster” is exhibited in their online gallery where visitors can v...
12/10/2020

UMBC senior and CCBC alumnus Kyle Meyer’s “FrankenShow Poster” is exhibited in their online gallery where visitors can vote for their favorite piece.
“FrankenShow” is the first exhibition for the CCBC alumnus and UMBC senior print media and computer science double major.

While he currently studies at UMBC with a focus on artificial intelligence theory, Meyer plans to freelance in his future. He is driven by the need “to make work that is fun to look at, which is always what art has been to [him].”

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/paws-for-arts-umbc-students-art-in-ccbc-frankenshow/

"FrankenShow Poster" by Kyle Meyer.

In my four years with The Retriever, I saw this section blossom beyond all anticipation. No matter what my unwarranted l...
12/09/2020

In my four years with The Retriever, I saw this section blossom beyond all anticipation. No matter what my unwarranted lack of confidence may convince me of, this section has grown further and stronger than I had ever expected.

As editor, I had the opportunity to watch individuals grow over these last three years — not just as writers, but also as people growing into their strengths, their admirations, their distastes, their understanding of themselves and who they want to become.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/a-goodbye/

Art by Ceyda Baysal

The Women’s Center at UMBC plans on changing its name. The current five names under consideration are: Gender Equity Cen...
12/08/2020

The Women’s Center at UMBC plans on changing its name. The current five names under consideration are: Gender Equity Center, Gender and Women’s Center, Center for Women’s and Gender Equity, Women’s Center for Gender Equity and Social Justice ,Intersectional Feminist Center.

Since 2017, there has been discussion on changing their name to better represent the diversity of the community they serve.“We just feel our name is a little bit outdated for the programming and support services that we’re currently doing,” said its Director, Jess Myers.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/plans-to-change-the-womens-centers-name-are-underway/

Photo from The Retrievers Archives

Spring semester will look very similar to Fall 2020, with 90 percent of classes fully online or hybrid. While different ...
12/08/2020

Spring semester will look very similar to Fall 2020, with 90 percent of classes fully online or hybrid. While different departmental academic advisors said this impacted students’ class selection, students felt there were few options to stray away from their major’s degree path.

Professor Eric Abele, Associate Chair of the Theatre Department, found that differences in the types of classes that students are choosing for the spring, either fully online or hybrid, mostly depended on the individual.

Read more Here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/students-stick-to-their-degree-path-despite-worries-about-the-online-spring-2021-semester/

Photo courtesy of Morgan Casey

The effects of the last 400 years of systemic oppression existed long before Biden and Harris became elected officials, ...
12/06/2020

The effects of the last 400 years of systemic oppression existed long before Biden and Harris became elected officials, and will continue to exist long after they leave office. At the end of the day, expecting them to end systemic oppression in just one term is incredibly naïve.

It is important to remember that the President and VP address issues on a national level. Injustice will still exist within our cities and communities, and there is little our national government will be able to do to address it, leaving us with the brunt of the responsibility.

Read more here:
https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/12/joe-biden-and-kamala-harris-arent-the-saviors-you-want-them-to-be-and-thats-okay/

Photo from Creative Commons by user “Biden for President”

Continuing its mission to foster an engaging relationship between our university and local town, OCA Mocha has paired wi...
11/27/2020

Continuing its mission to foster an engaging relationship between our university and local town, OCA Mocha has paired with UMBC undergraduate, Zaynub Siddiqui, to paint a mural on its walls.

The mural will celebrate diversity and unite Arbutus and OCA Mocha locals and workers with UMBC students and staff. Going forward, the OCA Mocha mural will act as a landmark of hospitality on East Drive for future generations.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/paws-for-art-umbc-student-painting-mural-for-oca-mocha/

Photo courtesy of Phoebe Oh

With Instagram’s growing global popularity, there are risks of criminals taking advantage of weaknesses in the platform’...
11/27/2020

With Instagram’s growing global popularity, there are risks of criminals taking advantage of weaknesses in the platform’s cybersecurity. Dylan Chao, a junior graphic design major at UMBC, is a make-up artist and beauty influencer who was targeted by hackers for his following.

Going forward, Instagram and other platforms need to improve their customer service protocol and cybersecurity. While Chao did not lose his portfolio, it still impacted his professional and personal life. He created a petition on Change.org for Instagram to improve their system.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/paws-for-art-the-insta-hacker/

Photo Courtesy of Dylan Chao

This fall, UMBC’s health and safety efforts got off to a good start via their University Health Services with one key ex...
11/21/2020

This fall, UMBC’s health and safety efforts got off to a good start via their University Health Services with one key exception: the lack of truly free and accessible on-site testing. As mentioned in a recent Retriever staff editorial, free testing is still not accessible to everyone who wants or needs it.

On their website, UMBC states that “[they] are not able to have community members ‘walk-in’ for on-campus testing.” As the U.S. experiences a record high in new coronavirus cases, it is now more important than ever to provide continuous, free and accessible testing to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

Read more here:
https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/no-excuses-umbc-we-need-free-and-continuous-on-site-testing/

Photo from The Retriever’s archives

Professors are also struggling with online classes. Professors who previously chose not to teach online courses due to t...
11/21/2020

Professors are also struggling with online classes. Professors who previously chose not to teach online courses due to technological challenges or the class material not being conducive to a virtual format, have been forced to modify their curriculum on the fly for this semester.

The struggles professors and students have to deal with are unique. Offering support like designated technology assistants in classes where professors are not as comfortable with the interface is one step UMBC can take to make this time a little easier for everyone.

Read more here:
https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/umbc-needs-to-do-more-to-support-professors-in-online-classes/

Photo courtesy of Ann Weisgerber

Since the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the question of whether to implement pass/fail policies has been largely none...
11/21/2020

Since the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the question of whether to implement pass/fail policies has been largely nonexistent, but it’s a question that needs to be revisited by UMBC and all U.S. universities. The introduction of a pass/fail grading system for the 2021 spring semester would not only considerably ease the academic-related stress students face, but would furthermore represent UMBC’s solidarity with its student body during this global health crisis.

Read more here:
https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/the-question-of-pass-fail-grading-has-disappeared-since-the-2020-spring-semester-its-time-we-revisit-it-for-2021/

Photo from The Retriever's archives

When discussing “guilty pleasure” reads, it is common to say something like “I know, it sucks, but I love it” or “it’s s...
11/17/2020

When discussing “guilty pleasure” reads, it is common to say something like “I know, it sucks, but I love it” or “it’s so bad, it’s good.”for fear of feeling judged. Laughter is fun, healthy and cathartic. There is nothing wrong with reading a book just to laugh at it.

Problems come from classifying books as such. Authors spend months, years or even decades writing their works. We should critique them, but this culture of qualifying some books as “bad” is dismissive. It sets up a binary. If there are “bad” books, then what are the “good” ones?

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/opinion-take-the-guilt-out-of-guilty-pleasure-reading/

Photo courtesy of Grace Reeb

Paul Oh, a 2017 graduate from UMBC’s Cinematic Arts program, created the Wholesome Film Festival. It is an event that fe...
11/17/2020

Paul Oh, a 2017 graduate from UMBC’s Cinematic Arts program, created the Wholesome Film Festival. It is an event that features exclusively heartwarming short films that focus on the hopeful things in life.

The idea for the festival was a confluence of many things. He was out of work for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing him to create an outlet for positivity to help himself and others like him cope.

Oh hopes to continue the festival as an annual or biennial event, each year providing a platform for new wholesome films and bringing smiles to more faces.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/umbc-graduate-delivers-the-warm-fuzzies-through-his-wholesome-film-festival/

Photo courtesy of Paul Oh.

Opinion: Gov Hogan set a poor example by voting for Ronald Reagan. Millions of people do not have the luxury to waste th...
11/14/2020

Opinion: Gov Hogan set a poor example by voting for Ronald Reagan. Millions of people do not have the luxury to waste their vote on a publicity stunt. By so publicly wasting his own vote, he separated himself from those who have been affected by the Trump administration. His action sends the message that yes, Hogan can speak out against Trump’s hatred, bigotry, administrative errors and mishandling of the pandemic, but he does not actually feel compelled to act in a way that would help remove him from office.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/by-recasting-his-presidential-ballot-for-a-dead-man-hogan-wasted-his-vote-and-in-announcing-so-publicly-endorsed-the-same-course-of-action-to-his-over-six-million-constituents/

Photo of Governor Larry Hogan, taken from his Twitter profile, .

Opinion: In a time of potentially indefinite online learning, mandatory synchronous classes are outdated and unhelpful, ...
11/14/2020

Opinion: In a time of potentially indefinite online learning, mandatory synchronous classes are outdated and unhelpful, considering the pervasive climate of fear and economic, physical and mental health difficulties that students are facing. This isn’t to say that synchronous lectures need to be abandoned entirely. What needs to be abandoned, however, is the mandatory aspect of these synchronous classes. By doing away with attendance policies, classes can become both synchronous and asynchronous at the students’ discretion.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/its-time-to-leave-synchronous-classes-in-the-past/

Photo courtesy of Rosalee Westwood

UMBC’s Student Government Association plans to launch a free menstrual product pilot in the spring 2021 semester, which ...
11/13/2020

UMBC’s Student Government Association plans to launch a free menstrual product pilot in the spring 2021 semester, which will place dispensaries in the gender-neutral bathrooms of three to five residential halls and will distribute 500 pads and 500 tampons across the dispensaries. SGA allocated 300 dollars for the pilot and is continuing to raise money to buy more menstrual products. They hope that other organizations, particularly pre-medical focused organizations, will help raise more funds.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/sga-plans-free-menstrual-product-pilot-for-spring-2021/

Photo courtesy of Morgan Casey

UMBC students report that the UMBC’s COVID-19 symptom tracker checklist is broad and relatively ambiguous. Asking indivi...
11/13/2020

UMBC students report that the UMBC’s COVID-19 symptom tracker checklist is broad and relatively ambiguous. Asking individuals to simply fill out a checklist, leaves no room for explanations behind certain symptoms. For instance, some students may be experiencing common allergies or a small cold rather than COVID-19 as experienced senior Ariella Garcia when she checked off "shortness of breath" and got contacted by her former UMBC athletics trainer. The cause was not covid related. “It scared me and it made me like really think about what symptoms I’m going through and whether they’re genuine symptoms,” said Garcia.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/how-umbcs-covid-symptom-tracker-is-making-an-impact/

Photo courtesy of Morgan Casey

First time voters at UMBC reflect on their voting experience in the midst of a pandemic: “Voting this year did not match...
11/13/2020

First time voters at UMBC reflect on their voting experience in the midst of a pandemic: “Voting this year did not match my expectations at all. When I imagined my first time voting, I thought I would be going to the polls in person” said freshman Raven Mitchell. Mitchell voted by mail for safety purposes. Freshman Anayah Green voted in person “As a first-time voter, I expected it to be super stressful and nerve-wracking going to the polls, but it actually was not as bad as I thought it would be.”

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/umbcs-first-time-voters-reflect-on-their-experience/

Photo from The Retrieve Archives

Tension was felt throughout UMBC Election Night Extravaganza. Election Night Extravaganza brings UMBC alumni, students, ...
11/13/2020

Tension was felt throughout UMBC Election Night Extravaganza. Election Night Extravaganza brings UMBC alumni, students, staff and faculty together to watch and discuss election results in real-time. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it took place over a Discord.
UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski expressed his anxiety over the election’s outcome during his talk “Whether you are 20 years old or 50 years old, your heart is pumping. My heart is pumping,” said Hrabowski.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/high-stress-at-umbcs-election-night-extravaganza/

Photo courtesy of Anjali DasSarma

UMBC is anticipating costs related to COVID-19 expenses for fiscal year 21 to be upwards of 2.5 million dollars, includi...
11/12/2020

UMBC is anticipating costs related to COVID-19 expenses for fiscal year 21 to be upwards of 2.5 million dollars, including testing, Personal Protective Equipment, cleaning & sanitizing, staff & facilities management, and the technical costs of transitioning online. UMBC is also using some facilities funds, which would normally be used for campus improvements, to pay for coronavirus-related expenses and tracking the pandemic-related expenses for possible state reimbursement.

Swipe → to see the breakdown of the costs.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/in-the-midst-of-a-pandemic-caused-budget-crisis-umbc-remains-dynamic/

Graphic by Madeline Arbutus

Manal Murangi, a junior film major and photo minor at UMBC, is working on “Terms and Conditions of Sex: A Short Film” as...
11/12/2020

Manal Murangi, a junior film major and photo minor at UMBC, is working on “Terms and Conditions of Sex: A Short Film” as an Undergraduate Research Award scholar. The short film explores a serious conversation between a woman with a history of abuse and her romantic interest. Before filming, Murangi researched stories and reached out to survivors to make “Terms and Conditions of Sex” more widely relatable. In the future, she dreams of funding minority-created and international projects as “minority stories are the stories that we need.”

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/paws-for-art-sharing-unheard-stories/

Photo courtesy of Manal Murangi.

As U.S. Rep for New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, live streamed on Among Us to encourage Americans to vote in the elec...
11/12/2020

As U.S. Rep for New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, live streamed on Among Us to encourage Americans to vote in the election, this question arises: if Among Us can be used to promote a political initiative, how many other video games contain traces of politics?
After all, a key mechanic of Among Us is voting, and, by extension, democracy. Indeed, many popular video games contain traces of politics that have the ability to influence players' view on culture.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/politics-and-video-games-are-more-linked-than-you-might-think/

Graphic by Lilly LaFemina.

Southern Rites”, a multimedia exhibition featuring the work of self-described “visual activist” Gillian Laub is currentl...
11/12/2020

Southern Rites”, a multimedia exhibition featuring the work of self-described “visual activist” Gillian Laub is currently exhibited at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at UMBC. Laub photographed and interviewed residents of Montgomery County, Georgia over a 10 year period. "Southern Rites" documents residents who were involved with a high school that held racially segregated proms through 2009 until her piece in the New York Times sparked a national outcry that forced them to integrate the proms in 2010.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/southern-rites-accessibly-explores-issues-of-systemic-racism/

Photo courtesy of Grace Reeb

“Folk songs tell true stories, terrible stories, because folk are terrible” Last week, Atlanta rapper Killer Mike of Run...
11/11/2020

“Folk songs tell true stories, terrible stories, because folk are terrible”

Last week, Atlanta rapper Killer Mike of Run the Jewels fame, won the Billboard “Change Maker” music award. A brand new accolade to the BBMA, the Change Maker is awarded to those who “speak truth to power through their music, celebrity, and community.” Killer Mike and El-P are exemplars in the field of socially conscious music, ranging from themes discussing police corruption and American poverty -- a genre which has been alive and well in America since perhaps its inception.

Read more here: https://retriever.umbc.edu/2020/11/the-folks-of-folk-music-then-and-now/

Graphic by Byanca Morales Cabrera.

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Exposé: Is Law Enforcement in LA County Terrorism?

By John Burl Smith

Black Lives Matter protests have made the “Fugitive Slave Act of 1850” a today concern for African Americans. Law enforcement is a deadly plague America’s slavery’s descendants and other brown, red and yellow people. The demand to defund police is to addresses brutality and murder by law enforcement. Whether it is termed defunding or reforming policing must change.

Recent reports discussing law enforcement across America are very disturbing, because they identify police criminal enterprises and good old boy networks that are hidden within policing operations and media fails to expose sham investigations disguising police gangs from the public. A series of eye opening exposés on Los Angeles County, California, reflect the depth of the problem. Deputy Austreberto Gonzalez, a decorated Marine veteran, with the Compton Sheriff Department (2007), filed a whistleblower complaint charging, “A gang of deputies, ‘Executioners,’ terrorized me and other deputies. Deputies who do not go along with this gang of ‘Executioner’ deputies’ demands are harassed, beaten, intimidated and denied promotions.”

Deputy Gonzalez was targeted, after reporting a fellow deputy, Thomas Banuelos, was beaten by an “Executioner,” outside the patrol station. Now he says, “I’m afraid for my safety and the safety of my family.” His attorney, Alan Romero, told EyewitnessNews, “He should be. These are very violent people, in a very violent gang, you know—violence, shooting, and beating people. These deputies celebrate after shooting citizens at ‘tattoo parties.’ They also set illegal arrest quotas and control duty assignments.”

Compton city leaders sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra requesting civil rights investigations into the Compton sheriff station, but received “no response.” Days after deputy Banuelos was assault by an “Executioner,” Gonzalez filed an anonymous report with internal affairs. However, his text was posted at the parking lot entrance saying: ‘ART IS A RAT.’ This was the first direct ‘Executioners’ retaliation against me.”

“Executioners’ sport matching tattoos and are celebrated throughout the LA Sheriff Department.” Gonzalez continued, “Executioners,’ wield tremendous power, commanding obedience at Compton station. The ‘Executioner’ tattoo has a skull with N**i imagery and an AK-47. The tattoo signifies a deputy has been ‘inked’ for shooting a citizen, which they received during ‘inking parties.’ ‘Executioners’ set illegal arrest quotas and threatening work slowdowns anytime their power is threatened. They ignore or respond very slowly to calls for help, if they are not given preferred assignments, promotions or other advancements,” according to Gonzalez’s claim.

Gonzalez detailed this surreal tragedy, “Deputy Jaime Juarez an inked ‘shotcaller’ for the ‘Executioners,’ and enforces illegal work slowdowns. They stopped performing their duties to ‘impose their will’ on CPT. Juarez attempted to flex the gang’s muscle with Captain Larry Waldie, pressuring him to change Training and Scheduling for deputy positions. Captain Waldie assigned shifts, a very desirable position for the gang, which would allow their members to receive preferential shifts assignments. When Capt. Waldie refused, Deputy Juarez signaled ‘Executioners’ to stage a work slowdown.”

‘Inked’ deputies with monikers like—Spartans, Regulators, Grim Reapers and Banditos—are the source of long-standing concerns; such groups currently operate at several sheriff stations, constituting criminal enterprises within law enforcement. Such ruthless groups have sparked multiple internal investigations, but despite recent FBI probes, these groups remain entrenched, leading civil liberties advocates to accuse the Sheriff’s Department of complicity and turning a blind eye.

Att. Romero, who represents Gonzalez proclaimed, “We have a gang that has grown so powerful it dominates every aspect of life at the Compton station. It essentially controls scheduling, the distribution of informant tips, and assignment preferences for gang members.” Contrarily, Sheriff Alex Villanueva say, “I have ordered an investigation. But I know there is no gang of any deputies running any station. But, I am disturbed by the allegations in Gonzalez’s claim and swift administrative action is being taken.”

Sounding like Donald Trump, disclaiming “any responsibility for COVID-19 deaths,” Villanueva said, “I take these allegations very seriously and recently enacted a policy specifically addressing illicit groups, deputy cliques, and subgroups, and I instituted measures in February that prohibit deputies from participating in cliques.” However, Inspector General Max Huntsman contradicted Villanueva’s rosy scenario, “I am not aware of no implementation whatsoever of the policy. My office has not been able to effectively investigate these secret societies because of obstruction by the Sheriff’s Department. It’s in writing, but has not been implemented, no investigations have been conducted,” Huntsman told the Civilian Oversight Commission. Moreover,“ state government seems complicit.”

Gonzalez’s complaint states, “Gangs at Compton station numbers about 20 deputies, while 20more are prospects or associates. Most work at night and communicate through WhatsApp. Black and female deputies are not allowed in these gangs. Nearly all CPT Deputies involved in high-profile shootings and out-of-policy beatings at CPT have been ‘inked’ members of the ‘Executioners.’ Roughly 1/5of the 100 deputies at the Compton Station are part of the ‘Executioners gang,’” his filing says. “Some 20other deputies are closely associated with the gang, awaiting ‘Executioners inking.’ Members become ‘inked’ as ‘Executioners’ after executing members of the public or commit acts of violence to further gang power. Deputies refused to partner with me, while a dispatcher, an “inked” deputy, dumped excessive calls on me. ‘Executioner’ retaliation against me forced my resignation from a field training officer position, Gonzalez explained.

The subculture of matching tattoos is not a new phenomenon. Deputy gangs are deeply rooted in the LA County Sheriff’s Department. Secret societies are blamed for glorifying brutal policing. Sean Kennedy, member of the Civilian Oversight Commission, a professor at Loyola Law School, stated “My students and I have identified at least 17 department gangs.” Although Sheriff Villanueva claims gangs do not exist, defenders say “gangs represent hard work, boost morale and camaraderie.” Moreover, last year the FBI interviewed deputies about gangs falsely reporting violence, while violating civil rights of the public, but no report has surfaced. The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research agency, studied gang culture at CPT, its report was due in January, but was not released.” Maybe, “Executioners” also dominate “The Rand”.

While flooding media with disclaimers, CPT still face extra scrutiny over high-profile uses of force allegations. The arrest and beating of Dalvin Price in May is an example. Three deputies beat Dalvin severely. Also, Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old, was shot fatally in the back five times in Gardena by a deputy. Such beatings and shootings sounds like “inking parties.” Compton police gangs were first revealed in the civil case of Donta Taylor, 31, killed by a deputy, during a foot chase in 2016. Another LA County ‘inking party’ possibly that was settled for $7million. A deputy, Samuel Aldama, admitted under oath to having ink, a calf tattoo, depicting a skull with arifle, a military-style helmet in flames and “CPT” for Compton. Att. Romero said, this is the same image found posted at ‘the station’s parking lot entrance saying: ‘ART IS A RAT.’ A top jail official stated that, ‘gangs of deputies’ at Men’s Central Jail ‘earned ink’ by breaking inmates’ bones.

Once gang revelations exploded in the press, Sheriff Villanueva condemned Gonzalez’s claim, like Donald Trump blamed his predecessor, “I implemented reforms to stop abuse and corruption committed by former Sheriff Lee Baca and his Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, tattooed members of the Vikings.” Again however, two deputies complained in 2017 that they were improperly punished with undesirable assignments for not meeting illegal arrest quotas and were told by a sergeant: “Yes, you should have known that by now.” Illegal arrest quotas allow deputies to double arrest numbers each month, which also means hundreds of citizens’ civil rights” were violated. According to Att. John Sweeney, who represented the Taylor family, “This is an atomic bomb that has been dropped on law enforcement and it reflects Gonzalez’s claim.”

Sweeney’s firm represents another excessive-force case involving the same deputies from the Taylor case. Deputies beat Sheldon Lockett and used racial slurs at him, during an incident in 2016, LA County denied allegations. Today, Lockett’s attorneys are citing Gonzalez’s claim in their court filing to reopen discovery, seeking to depose several deputies again and examine their WhatsApp accounts.

Compton is now considering defunding the Sheriff’s Department, and believed that will save $7 of the $22-million it spends for policing. Sheriff’s deputies have been operating like a1920s mob of gangsters. Deputies fired 120 rounds at an unarmed man in a moving vehicle, wounding him four times in2005. In 2009, a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot in the back by a Compton deputy, who claimed the boy pointed a gun at him. The family’s attorney said the deputy planted a “drop weapon.” These shootings fit Gonzalez’s description of “inking” requirements of the “Executioners.”

Deputy Thomas Banuelos said, “I endured five years of ‘bullying and intimidation’ from ‘Executioners,’ at the Compton station. I received a very violent vicious and bloody beating that nearly killed me, at the hands of an ‘Executioner.’ He had me on the ground and just bashed my head with his elbow over and over and over again. I suffered injuries to my head, but did not report the beating because ‘Executioners’ told me ‘not to cooperate with investigators and to lie about the violent attack. They threatened even ‘more violence,’ so I had to meet with Deputy Eugene Contreras, an ‘enforcer’ of the gang.

Deputy Contreras told me ‘if you open your mouth, you’ll be labeled no good,’ this meant I would be open to sudden retaliatory attacks at the station by all members of the gang.” Att. Romero told EyewitnessNews, “Banuelos was also ordered by the department not to talk about the matter until they complete their investigation.” However, Banuelos spoke up by filing his complaint.

Gangs of deputies like the “Vikings,” “Regulators,” “Jump Out Boys,” “3000 Boys,” “Banditos” and now the “Executioners” have infested the LA County Sheriff’s Department for decades. A county document obtained by EyewitnessNews lists dozens of cases since the 1990s related to deputy gangs leading to nearly $55 million in court judgments and settlements. Many lawsuits, including one related to the “Banditos,” are still pending.

Although this may read like an action novel, it reflects a real very very deadly situation for black residents of Compton. Derrick Cooper, founder of the L.A. City Wildcats Youth Academy in Compton said, “I was arrested last Thanksgiving while preparing a meal for my group. I wasn’t told why I was arrested. At the county jail, I was locked butt naked in a shower, with over 200 other men. Deputies said, ‘I fit the description of someone they were looking for.’ Deputies hauled me off, as young black men looked on. Then, I was released without charges. The department apologized, but that did not change what happened. It did not erase the incident from my kids’ minds. Maybe that was the point; showing them black people’s rights is not respected!

Jermelle Henderson, who city officials call a community partner, who contributes toys and food in the community, said, “A deputy pulled me over at gunpoint. They grabbed my arms, pulling me out of the car, and put me in handcuffs. I asked why she was doing this. She said, ‘Oh, this is what we do in Compton.’ I was handcuffed and detained in the back of a patrol car, before I was released with no explanation. The deputy recognized me as owner of Taco Mell, and she had come by ‘for a care package.’” Henderson’s attorney, Walter Mosley said, “He’s not a gang banger, and not a drug dealer... he makes food for our community. But, the way things are in Compton, he didn’t know if he would make it home from a traffic stop.”

Compton’s City Council was outraged again on August 6, 2020 when Mayor Aja Brown was forced from her car and humiliatingly searched by LA County deputies. The Council called on the State of California to investigate allegations of violence, intimidation, terrorism, false arrests, excessive force and other corruption charges against the Compton Sheriff’s Department and deputies gangs like “The Executioners.” Jasmyne A. Cannick of CNN detailed Mayor Aja Brown’s appealing and degrading encounter, during a “traffic stop.” She called for state AG Xavier Becerra and the U.S. Justice Department to investigate deputy gangs in the LA County Compton Sheriff’s Department. Police use of excessive force, discriminatory policing, improper stops, searches, arrests and murders of citizens in Compton; but neither commented, as though they supported the Sheriff, rather than Mayor Brown.

Mayor Aja Brown said, “I was driving through the city, when a Compton sheriff’s deputy made a hard u-turn in traffic to pull me over. I was with my husband and baby daughter. I rolled my window down and asked why I was being pulled over. Within seconds nine sheriff deputy vehicles arrived on the scene. They ordered me out of my car, while demanding I spread-eagle with my hands on the squad car.” The Mayor should have been recognizable by people she employs, which speaks volumes about deputies open disregard for black people’s rights, because not one spoke up or questioned her treatment.

While manhandling Mayor Brown, deputies claimed she ran a red light, which she adamantly denies, but did not seem to matter. “Although deputies claimed they stop me for running a red light, they immediately began looking for drugs, of course none were found. They frisked me down, as if I was a criminal. Mind you, I was accompanied by my husband and my infant daughter in her car seat. I did not look like a drugs trafficker. My infant daughter was screaming at the top of her lungs, as deputies pulled her father from the car to search him and the car.” A watch commander arrived, after Mayor Brown was manhandled and degradingly searched, he released her before they hauled her off to Jail.

“Although I filed an official complaint with the LASD, the response was totally unsatisfactory. I plan to file a lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff; that is the only thing they understand. They will remember who I am and how I look, after that. And, even though deputies gave me a ticket, they tore it up without explanation.” I believe the Mayor was right, they realized they did not dare show up in court to defend the ticket and violating her, and her family’s civil rights, not to mention humiliating and degrading her in front of her husband, who had to watch, deputies run their hands all over her. Thank God they did not demand a cavity search, as in many cases with black women!
Consider the psychological anguish inflicted upon her, an infant child, and husband, during that entire episode. This was an insult to her constituents, who are embarrassed for her, not to mention the mental trauma, seeing their leader treated in that manner. Following that disgusting displays of contempt and disregard suffered by Mayor Brown, as a city official, the painful and deadly truth of police gangs on the innocent is never considered. Politicians across America should be outraged, while expressing total indignation and revulsion, that a city Mayor was treated with such disregard by police. Where is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s support for Mayor Aja Brown’s fight against police gangs in Compton?

I truly feel Aja Brown’s husband’s rage and anguish, as both women he cares most about were degraded and humiliated before his eyes. But, a black man in America knows in such situations any show of outrage could get him, as well as his family killed, while police claim she and he were angry over the traffic ticket. More importantly, with “qualified immunity” no one would pay. Black Lives Matter only if white Americans watch black people die for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

In fact, I believe, those cops recognized Mayor Brown, which is why they made the u-turn. Defunding the Sheriff Department by Compton will put all those deputies out of cushy jobs, which was the point of the charade. They were putting Mayor Aja Brown in the place. Compton is their town, they run it, and can handle her any way they pleased, or were it, “misogynoir?” No white woman in America, let alone an elected official, would never be manhandled and subjected to such total disrespect. We know Republicans are cowards; Donald Trump loved degrading women, so why are Democrats silent? My question is without a federal motorcade, would deputies recognize Sen. Kamala Harris, who has been labored angry, would she be made to spread-eagle and patted down, as Mayor Aja Brown?
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