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Charges weighed after deputies brawl at party

Several are hurt and seven were relieved of duty pending investigations after violence at a Christmas celebration for Men's Central Jail employees.

March 08, 2011|By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors are determining whether to file criminal charges in connection with a fight that broke out among Men's Central Jail deputies at a Christmas party last year.

The findings of an internal probe into the incident by Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators have been passed to the district attorney's office.

Seven deputies were relieved of duty pending investigations into violence at a Montebello banquet hall in December. Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore declined to disclose how many suspects were included in the probe but said "it's safe to say, yes, the people suspended were part of the investigation."

Names of the deputies have not been released.

Investigators conducted more than 150 interviews during the probe into the Dec. 10 fight, which left several injured. About 100 guests, including sheriff's supervisors, attended the party. As the event was winding down near midnight, Montebello police received an anonymous 911 call reporting violence in the parking lot.

Recently transferred Men's Central Jail Capt. Daniel Cruz may have been jostled as he tried to calm the situation but was not injured. At least two other deputies received medical attention, officials said.

Although Montebello police responded to the scene, the Sheriff's Department took over the investigation. Alcohol was being consumed at the party, but it's unclear to what extent it played a role.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Monday there's no timeline for determining whether to file criminal charges.

A separate sheriff's administrative review of the incident is ongoing.

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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