Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads Guilty to Wrongful Detention and Cover-Up

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Miguel Vega has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of wrongfully detaining a skateboarder during an incident in Compton in April 2020. Vega and his partner, Christopher Hernandez, attempted to cover up their actions by filing false reports claiming the skateboarder, Jesus Alegria, was on drugs and acting aggressively. Vega’s guilty plea is for deprivation of rights under color of law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Hernandez previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing in January.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department initiated criminal and administrative investigations into the deputies when the misconduct allegations were reported. The department stated that it is committed to holding employees accountable for their actions. Both Vega and Hernandez were relieved of duty in connection with the incident in late 2020.

The plea agreement aligns with allegations detailed in a previous investigation by The Los Angeles Times. According to court filings, Vega and Hernandez approached a group of young Black men outside a skate park in Compton and ordered them to lift their shirts to check for weapons. Alegria yelled at the deputies to stop harassing the group, leading Vega to challenge him to a fight. Vega then forcibly detained Alegria by shoving him into the back of a patrol cruiser without informing him of his rights or stating whether he was under arrest.

During the incident, Vega and Hernandez made threats to Alegria, including claiming they would leave him in a gang-controlled neighborhood and falsely label him as a rival gang member. The deputies later crashed their cruiser while chasing a group of teenagers on bikes. Vega then instructed Alegria to leave the vehicle and falsely reported a man fleeing with a gun matching Alegria’s description. Alegria was subsequently pressured to sign a citation for being under the influence of methamphetamine, a drug he denied ever using.

Vega and Hernandez wrote false reports to cover up their actions, intentionally including misleading information. Alegria filed a lawsuit against the deputies, which resulted in a $450,000 settlement. The plea agreement and guilty pleas by Vega and Hernandez are seen as a step towards justice by Alegria’s attorney, Humberto Guizar.

The case involving Vega and Hernandez is separate from their involvement in the shooting death of 18-year-old Andres Guardado in June. The shooting sparked protests and a legal settlement, but no criminal charges have been filed against the former deputies in relation to that incident.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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