Four of the seven deputies fired from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in 2013 for being a part of the ‘Jump Out Boys’ gang have been reinstated, it has been revealed.
The clandestine brotherhood within the sheriff’s department saw members get matching skull tattoos and they allegedly prided themelves on aggressive policing, the shootings of mostly Latino and black gang members, and shared a secret black book of shootings, as per the Huffington Post.
In 2013 the group was exposed to the public and seven officers were fired for their alleged membership.
However, four of those deputies have won back their sheriff’s badges despite objections from the department, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
They are: Deputies Douglas Parkhurst, who is currently stationed at the narcotics bureau in Palmdale, as per anonymous sources, Jason Lanska and Ronnie Perez, who are stationed as courthouse security, and Deputy Anthony Paez, who left the department in February.
The firings were reversed after the deputies and their union filed lawsuits and multiple appeals to challenge their dismissals.
Those four claimed they had tattoos belonging to the group but didn’t know about its creed. The three deputies who admitted to knowing about the group’s mission –Deputies Steve Vargas, Curtis Sykes, and Julio Martinez – did not win their appeals.
The Jump Out Boys was exposed in 2013 and they allegedly prided themselves on aggressive policing and officer-involved shootings. Members allegedly have matching tattoos depicting a skull, cards and a pistol. Those who have been involved in a shooting have smoke curling from the gun’s barrel in their tattoos
Who are the Jump Out Boys?
The Jump Out Boys are a gang of deputies within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
The clandestine brotherhood allegedly takes pride in aggressive policing, the shootings of mostly Latino and black gang members, loyalty to one another and street justice.
Members had matching tattoos of a skull holding a gun. Those who had been involved in officer-involved shootings would have smoke rising from the gun.
They also allegedly shared a secret black book to document the date of shootings and the real names of members.
The group was exposed in 2013 and officials said they had ‘elements similar to those used to establish membership in a criminal gang.’
Seven members were fired in 2013 for alleged membership but they contested the firings and were suspended instead.
After repeated appeals four of their suspensions were overturned.
The county Civil Service Commission found no proof that Parkhurst, Lanska, Perez and Paez subscribed to the rules of the Jump Out Boys and their firings were deemed improper.
Attorney Elizabeth Gibbons representing the deputies said: ‘They were disciplined for something they never even knew existed,’ she said.
Instead of firing them, the panel reduced their discipline to suspensions.
Then all four went to court to argue that they didn’t deserved to be punished at all and won and were reinstated.
In July a judge ruled in favor to the last deputy contesting the suspension.
They not only had their suspensions overturned, but were awarded backpay with interest and the discipline was wiped from their records.
However, the ruling came over repeated objections by the sheriff’s department, according to court filings, which said the whole department’s credibility would be on the line when deputies associated with the group made arrests or used force.
Paez successfully appealed his firing in 2018.
Three other deputies fired for their alleged membership had already been reinstated in 2015.
Paez left the department in February and was awarded interest on top of his backpay.
Payroll records, which don’t include interest, reveal the county paid him close to $500,000 in 2018 and 2019.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has been heavily criticized for not cracking down on these rogue deputy cliques that purportedly encourage violence and misconduct.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva adopted a policy against ‘deputy sub-cliques’ in February in a bid to discipline deputies who join and form such groups that engage in misconduct.
That statement said: ‘The mere existence of the Jump Out Boys’ creed and its rhetoric undermines the department’s goals.’
However, some say the sheriff’s department hasn’t actually been active in meeting that goal.
An excerpt of the Jump Out Boys creed pictured above, descriving the meaning of the tattoo
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has not commented on the reinstatement of the Jump Out Boys deputies
County Inspector General Max Huntsman said to the Times that Villanueva has aggressively blocked his office and the oversight commission from investigating his handling of deputy clubs.
Villanueva hasn’t commented on the rehiring of the four Jump Out Boys deputies.
The Jump Out Boys aren’t the only illicit subgroup of officers that make up police and sheriff’s departments.
Three decades ago a group called the Vikings emerged out of the Lynwood sheriff’s department in California and a federal judge accused them of running a ‘neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang.’
These groups are being investigated by the FBI. Some seem to have the same ideas – glorifying the use of force and targeting minority communities.
According to files from the sheriff’s internal investigation into the Jump Out Boys, the department was reluctant to look into the clique.
On February 8, 2012, two supervisors discovered the group’s manifesto in the trunk of a patrol car. It was found in a fitness magazine next to a news article about the Vikings deputy club.
When one of the supervisors brought the creed to a captain, a sergeant said, ‘Oh, Jump Out Boys, that’s old news.’
On April 20, 2012, when the LA Times ran a story about the secretive group who saw shootings as a ‘badge of honor,’ the department then launched a formal investigation the same day.
The firings were reversed after the deputies and their union filed lawsuits and multiple appeals to challenge their dismissals. The three deputies who admitted to knowing about the creed – Deputy Steve Vargas, Curtis Sykes, and Julio Martinez – did not win their appeals
According to investigation files Deputy Steve Vargas was the first deputy with a Jump Out Boys tattoo to be questioned in the investigation.
He had helped write the mission statement of the group which described members as ‘alpha dogs, who think and act like the wolf, but never become the wolf.’
The section said they weren’t ‘afraid to get their hands dirty, without any disgrace, dishonor or hesitation.’
In the probe, Vargas named the other six deputies who had the Jump Out Boys tattoo, all of whom contributed to the creed, he claimed. Nearly two weeks later all seven were placed on leave.
A review of controversial police shootings within the department shows that several involved member of the Jump Out Boys.
In one 2012 case Deputy Paez shot dead 22-year-old man Arturo Cabrales and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
The officer was accused of raiding the home of Arturo Cabrales who was drinking in the front yard of his home with other deputies. An argument ensued and Paez entered the yard of the home, chased Cabrales and shot him twice through the side and four times in the back.
Paez said Cabrales had a gun, but in court an attorney for the family said the shooting investigation was corrupted by other Jump Out Boys.
Deputy Julio Martinez helped find a gun on the other side of a six foot fence, as per the department’s investigative files and the medical examiner testified no one shot in the way Cabrales had been could have thrown the gun to where it was found.
The time logs for the shooting were also written by fellow Jump Out Boys Vargas and Sykes.
In the end none of the deputies were found to have engaged in misconduct. The county still paid $1.5million in 2014 to settle the case out of court.