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Michael Eyerly
Michael Eyerly
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Federal Suit Alleges Decade-Long Pattern of Violence and Corruption by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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Federal suit alleged Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies used excessive force.

The parents of the late Devin Eichenlaub filed a lawsuit in federal court this past Wednesday. The suit alleges Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies used excessive force resulting in the death of their son, Devin Eichenlaub. In their suit Mr. and Mrs. Eichenlaub claim their son was beaten to death by “nearly 20 deputies” after running from two deputies on patrol in Lakewood. The suit claims

deputies illegally stopped him, arrested him, used excessive force against him, murdered him by beating him to death, and then engaged in wrongful conduct to cover up what they had done.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the incident began when deputies on special anti-burglary patrol in Lakewood tried to stop and talk to Eichenlaub because he “looked out of place.” After he was handcuffed, sheriff’s deputies discovered Eichenlaub was not breathing and had no pulse. The Sheriff’s Department said the death is under investigation.

In addition to seeking damages for the death of their son, the suit claims that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have engaged in a “decade-long pattern of violence and corruption.” The complaint asserts causes of action for civil rights violations and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Interestingly, this is the same federal act passed by Congress in 1970 as a means to deal with organized crime syndicates and drug cartels. Representing the Eichenlaubs is attorney Stephen Yagman, who has championed a good many lawsuits against police organizations over the years for civil rights violations and the use of excessive force.