The REAL Story of the Racist Gangs Inside the LA Sheriff’s Office



Editors note: The L.A. Sheriff’s Department has been running wild the past few weeks. The following research goes into some of the extremely perverse ways that these pigs have organized themselves into racist gangs within the department.

Andrés Guardado, an 18-year-old Salvadoran youth, was shot six times in the back by a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) pig on June 18, 2020. The killer and his partner worked out of the Compton sheriff's station, which is controlled by a gang of 15 to 20 deputies called the “Executioners.” According to a “whistleblower” complaint, the pig who shot Guardado was a prospective member of the Executioners, and he and his partner were “chasing ink”—slang for trying to impress the Executioners to join their gang and earn a Regulators tattoo.

The Executioners are one of at least 10 “deputy gangs” operating inside the LASD, going back at least half a century – the Vikings, Reapers, Regulators, Little Devils, Cowboys, 2000 Boys and 3000 Boys, Jump Out Boys, and most recently the Banditos and the Executioners. A report by the Loyola Law School,1 about to be released, describes the 50-year history of “Deputy Gangs” in the LASD. The Report identifies at least 17 past and present gangs inside the LASD, but suspects there are more they couldn't find. They include the Banditos, the Grim Reapers, the Jump Out Boys, the 3000 Boys and 2000 Boys, the Rattlesnakes, and many more, including the most notorious – the Lynwood Vikings.

Those who wrote the Loyola Law School report could not find another police force in the country with so many police gangs, operating for so long. The Office of Inspector General over the LASD estimates that since 1990 the County has spent $50 million on settlements and judgments related use of force and misconduct by deputies known to have a clique tattoo.

Racist white supremacy, with the power to perpetrate and cover up violence against the Black and Latinx people in the neighborhoods they control, is the glue that holds these gangs tightly together. The earliest of those identified was the “Little Devils,” dating back to 1970 at the East L.A. sheriff's station. They were all white pigs working in predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhoods, carrying out racist violence against the people who lived there. At one point there were 47 tattooed members identified. At the same time the East L.A. station adopted the controversial “Fort Apache” seal as its logo2 – which was widely viewed as a celebration of the terrible violence the sheriffs had unleashed against Chicano anti-war protesters during the 1970 Chicano Moratorium.

Members of a gang have the same tattoo – shared “ink” – that symbolizes membership. In some cases its been reported that “ink” is only granted after a deputy commits an illegal act or violates department protocol to show their loyalty to the group. In other cases, deputies allegedly receive additional markings after committing police brutality, or being involved in a shooting.  

One of the ways these deputy gangs exert control over their stations is by threatening the life of any deputy who crosses/tries to question them – often called “race traitors.” A deputy who eventually became a whistleblower at the Lynwood station reported having one of the Vikings pull a gun on him, point it at his head, in plain sight of other pigs, and tell him, “I'm going to kill you.” Other plaintiffs said among the threats to their lives was to deny them needed backup help on dangerous calls.

The “3000 Boys” – Brutality Inside the County Jail

Some of these deputy gangs carry out their brutality inside the county jails – the “3000 Boys” carry out their brutality in the 3000 Block of the Men's Central Jail. Inmates have complained for years about “horrific” conditions in the 3000 Block. In one case, these pigs were part of an assault on a prisoner and cover up. The prisoner was pinned to the ground while other pigs beat, tased, and pepper-sprayed the prisoner, leaving him with chemical burns. And the LA Times was told by a top commander that jailers would “earn their ink” by breaking inmates' bones.

A review by The Appeal of nearly 3 dozen federal lawsuits found Plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that LASD deputies regularly target people with mental illnesses and disabilities for violence, beat Los Angeles residents and prisoners alike, and punish those who file abuse complaints. According to The Appeal:

Plaintiffs alleged that guards used force such as “slamming the inmates’ heads into walls, punching them in the face with their fists, kicking them with their boots, and shooting them multiple times with their tasers.” Injuries from beatings included fractured eye sockets and blindness, broken legs, shattered jaws, collapsed lungs, and nerve damage.

In July 2009, more than six LASD officers, three of whom were members of the 3000 Boys, shouted racial slurs while beating Evans Tutt in Men’s Central Jail. Tutt sustained multiple injuries from the beating including a broken nose, a chipped tooth, and injuries to his ribs, head, face, knee, and leg.

The Lynwood Vikings

The Lynwood Vikings are one of the most notorious LASD gangs. Among the Viking tattoos wore on their ankles is the symbol "998," which stands for "officer-involved shooting," considered a mark of pride, indicating that the pig has shot someone. The Vikings threw gang signs—L for Lynwood—and occasionally spray-painted Vikings tags in the Lynwood area to mark their “turf.” The Lynwood station had a map of the district in the shape of Africa, and its walls posted racist cartoons depicting Black men.

A class-action lawsuit filed in 1990 by more than 100 residents of Lynwood, a predominantly Black and Latinx city south of Los Angeles, alleged that the Lynwood Vikings used excessive force, including “interrogation with stun guns, beating victims into unconsciousness, holding a gun in a victim’s mouth and pulling the trigger on an empty chamber, pushing a victim’s head through a squad car window,” conducted illegal searches and seizures, and racially discriminated against residents.

In 1991, a federal judge ruled in the residents’ favor, describing the Lynwood Vikings as “a neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang” that engaged in “terrorist-type tactics” with the knowledge and tacit support of departmental leadership. The department settled the case for $7.5 million, but not one of the deputies was fired. In fact, Paul Tanaka, a known member of the Vikings, was promoted to second-in-command of the LASD under Chief Lee Baca in 2011. Tanaka was indicted in 2015, charged and later convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a federal trial for orchestrating a scheme to block an FBI investigation of the Central Jail. When Tanaka was questioned about his membership in the Vikings, he told the jury "It was nothing more than a station mascot." Sheriff Lee Baca was later arrested, charged and convicted for his part in the same scheme.

In 2018 Alex Villanueva became the latest head of the Sheriff's Department, described in an interview by Los Angeles Magazine as “the Donald Trump of L.A. Law Enforcement.” In his short time in power he's deactivated misconduct investigations, reinstated deputies fired for misconduct, and has created a process for returning to duty as many as 400 more deputies and civilian employees fired for unreasonable use of force, lying to investigators, and domestic violence.

These ruthless gangs of pigs continue to thrive inside the LASD down to today because, more than anything else, those with power have protected them, and encourage them. They consider these deputy gangs, steeped in racist white supremacy, to be playing an essential role in maintaining the cohesion, morale, and control of the armed enforcers of this system.


In L.A. County, Gangs Wear Badges,” Zak Cheney-Rice, the Intelligencer, New York Magazine, 9/4/2020.

FIFTY YEARS OF “DEPUTY GANGS” IN THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT: Identifying Root Causes and Effects to Advocate for Meaningful Reforms (Marked draft), A Report by the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy Loyola Law School—Los Angeles September 2020.

Meet Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the Donald Trump of L.A. Law Enforcement,” Jason McGahan, Los Angeles Magazine, July 19, 2019.

Deputies Say Racist Gang Wields|Power at Top of L.A. Sheriff’s Dept.,” Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service. 4/26/2013.

Paul Tanaka grilled about ties to the 'Lynwood Vikings' deputy gang,” Lisa Bartley, abc7, 4/4/2016.

A new lawsuit describes a violent gang in LA County. Its members are deputy sheriffs,” P.R. Lockhart, Vox, 10/11/2019

ARE THE “3000 BOYS” LA’S LARGEST GANG?” CZ Bartok, L.A.TACO, 5/12/2011



1. “FIFTY YEARS OF ‘DEPUTY GANGS’ IN THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT: Identifying Root Causes and Effects to Advocate for Meaningful Reform”  [back]

2. This refers to the 1948 film with John Wayne, which depicted an isolated U.S. Cavalry post surrounded by Native Americans.  [back]

Members of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department have organized themselves into racist gangs within the department. Members of a gang have the same tattoo — shared “ink” — that symbolizes membership. Here are examples of three: Lynwood Vikings, Banditos, and Jump Out Boys.



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