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May 11th, 2012
11:54 AM ET

Ganging up on gangs: 'Clique' in L.A. County Sheriff's unit glorifies shootings

An officer's badge may not be the only badge of honor sported by a Los Angeles County police unit. Recently, a secret deputy clique was uncovered within the gang enforcement unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and marks its members with a different badge: permanent ink.

The "Jump-Out Boys" allegedly tattoo themselves with the image of a skull with glowing red eyes. The skull wears a bandana with the letters "OSS" - short for Operation Safe Streets, the larger initiative which established their unit to clear city streets of gangs. An ace and eight of spades, the so-called "Dead Man's Hand" in poker, fans out to the left of the image, with a skeletal hand brandishing a revolver to the right side. Reportedly, after a member is involved in a shooting, smoke is tattooed over the barrel of their gun - an enduring sort of high-five for a mission accomplished.

The tattoos harken back to other law enforcement "gangs" which branded members in a similar manner, and ultimately, Soledad said, the concern is that the ink glorifies violence - especially considering the unit's task is to comb neighborhoods labeled for "dangerous gang activity" and disarm gang members.

"Los Angeles Times" reporter Robert Faturechi explains.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Patrick

    Excellent reporting. THIS is the kind of coverage we what we want more of, at all levels of government.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Daniel F

    Amazing report. Great job. This investigation and report is very smart, professional and interesting. We need more of this kind of investigative journalism to keep the authorities straight and focused to serve the community rather than stray to some side agenda or interets. God Bless USA. Daniel F.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse | Reply

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