L.A. County undersheriff admits to having police gang tattoo

It would be rude to call a deputy a caveman to his face but hey, if he comes right out and admits it and goes so far as to get a tattoo of it, well… thanks, caveman. You're way ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, though, this tattoo wasn't a self-depreciating moment made flesh. Instead, it's further evidence of the ubiquitous presence of gangs in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Though former sheriff Villanueva was quick to demote them to mere "subgroups", these gangs exhibit the same behavior as the organizations that they are purportedly out to police. What makes a gang? Well, the LASD "subgroups" pretty much define define the definition of a gang, as spelled out by the deputy's own handbooks. There are endless comparisons and extensive research out there, Knock LA has a great podcast on the topic here.

So, what's the latest on the gang scoop?

After two years of fighting a subpoena issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission (COC), former undersheriff Timothy Murakami testified Thursday that he received the tattoo of the Cavemen deputy gang while he was a deputy at the East LA station in the 1980s.

[…]Murakami testified that he received the ink at a tattoo shop on Whittier Boulevard with a group of 6 to 10 other deputies. The ink was described as an image of Caveman carrying a club with the letters ELA (signifying the East LA Sheriff's station) across its chest or stomach, on his right calf. Murakami's was number 10, meaning he was one of the first 10 people to get the tattoo. He stated that he had seen others with the tattoo, but could not identify them, nor how many others had it.

Cerise Castle, LA Public Press

And surely, this appendage of the law is cognizant of the similarities between his gang, street gangs, maybe even authoritarian gangs that are pretty universally condemned?

Murakami stated that he did not believe the department could discipline for tattoos associated with the Ku Klux Klan or a swastika "as long as it's covered" because "it would be a mess."

[…]Murakami could not identify any women or Black people who were members of the Cavemen, but said he thought there were some. He also testified that he did not think it would be illegal for a deputy gang to discriminate against either group. The former undersheriff also refused to answer questions about his use of racial epithets at the advice of his counsel. The County Equity Oversight Panel recommended in 2020 that Murakami be disciplined for using a Japanese language slur for Black people, but Villanueva ultimately rejected their recommendation.

Cerise Castle, LA Public Press

In testifying like this, Murakami has done a disservice to cavemen everywhere.

Previously: Former LA Sheriff Villaneuva says sheriff gangs are simply subgroups