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| Friday, Apr 5, 2019
The Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, California. Photographed by user Coolcaesar on October 11, 2014.
The Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, California. Photographed by user Coolcaesar on October 11, 2014.

 

Six Los Angeles County probation officers have been charged in connection with unlawfully using pepper spray against five teenage girls housed at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Two separate cases were filed for warrant yesterday that allege the defendants, who work as detention services officers, either were unreasonable when using pepper spray or prevented the victims from being decontaminated after they were sprayed.

The six incidents occurred between April and July of 2018.

All six defendants made their initial court appearance today and are scheduled to return for arraignment on May 23 in Department 40 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorneys Kaveh Faturechi and Oscar Plascencia of the Justice System Integrity Division are prosecuting the cases.

The defendants in case BA476681 are:

* Marlene Rochelle Wilson (dob 11/26/72) charged with five felony counts of assault by a public officer and three misdemeanor counts of child abuse. She faces a possible maximum sentence of eight years and eight months in state prison to be served in local custody.

* Janeth Vilchez (dob 5/19/70) charged with one count each of assault by a public officer and child abuse. She faces a possible maximum sentence of four years in prison to be served in local custody.
The defendants in case BA476688 are:

* LaCour Harrison (dob 6/15/65) charged with one count of felony assault by a public officer and two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to child by endangering her health. He faces up to four years in prison to be served in local custody.

* Claudette Reynolds (dob 1/9/62) charged with one count each of assault by a public officer and cruelty to a child by endangering her health. She faces up to 3 ½ years in prison to be served in local custody.

* Maria Asuzena Guerrero (dob 7/15/90) charged with one count of cruelty to a child by endangering her health.

* Karnesha Marshall (dob 2/11/91) charged with one count of cruelty to a child by endangering her health. Both Guerrero and Marshall face up to six months in jail.

The cases remain under investigation by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

* * * * *

Separately, Los Angeles County Chief Probation Officer Terri L. McDonald issued the following statement Friday about the charges being filed:

“Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today that criminal charges have been filed against six Los Angeles County Probation Officers as the result of a months-long investigation originated by L.A. County Probation into the unlawful use of force at one of the Department’s Juvenile Halls.

“As this filing shows, L.A. County Probation has a zero tolerance policy and will not tolerate the improper use of force by staff against any youth in our charge. When we become aware of an allegation of excessive use of force, we prioritize that investigation and refer the case to the D.A.’s office if warranted.

“The alleged acts by the individuals charged today in no way reflect on the amazing work done by our staff who have dedicated their careers to helping youth and adults change their lives for the better.

“What this filing does demonstrate is that the excessive or improper use of force by our staff will be thoroughly and professionally investigated, with involved staff being held accountable for their actions.”

* * * * *

Also separately, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas issued a statement Friday afternoon about the charges:

“The filing of criminal charges against six Probation officers validates the earlier concerns we raised about excessive – and now potentially illegal – use of pepper spray in our juvenile halls and camps.

“It also underscores the urgent need to safely and responsibly phase out the use of pepper spray and to implement stronger oversight and other changes to be recommended by the Probation Reform and Implementation Team (PRIT).

“I hope the Probation Department will continue to have a zero tolerance policy for staff misconduct.”

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7 Comments

  1. JB says:

    It’s a sad day when your own department throws you under the bus when all you want to do is come to work do a good job and be protected from unnecessary drama!

  2. PO says:

    Charging for using a method that is relitivly low on the use of force continuum, but is not only temporary, but also prevents the officers from using open hand techniqies, which can cause more injuries is rediculous. If they violated policy discipline the officer, or fire them based on the extent of the allegations, but charging them is uncalled for.

  3. Dee Lucas says:

    You give them the pepper spray then you take there Job and use it against them. County Employees better better look at whom you work for. This ain’t right

  4. Angela Verdun says:

    As a retired DPO , I recommend entry into juvenile probation return to professional status. A 4 year degree iwith a major or minor in human behavior should be required. Most of these detained minors have a mental, emotional or learning disability that is not being properly addressed. Children act out when they are suffering . Why is pepper spray even available as an alternative to controlling these minors? How are the current staff (w only a AA degree requirement) being trained? The emphasis has become more physical rather than therapeutic. This is unfortunate. Many of these children just need IIEP’s to access mental health or learning disability resources. Others would benefit from social services.

    • Shay says:

      To Ms Verdun let me ask you this just ihave been in the halls in the last 10 years if not you past Friday there was 4minors chasing the superintendent and Director around the swimming pool then jump in the pool females minors to off their top then was I movement control and destroyed I have 33year I. The halls if have not been those situations yo don’t know how it has changed I also worked with those minors my hole career now if have any suggestions please let them know because the chief do not the can not tell them maybe you know some they don’t I am sure you don’t

  5. Honesty Stanfield says:

    I AM ONE OF THE VICTOMS I WAS SUBPOENAED TO COURT MULTIPLE TIMES AND NOONE HAS REACHED ME ON WHAT TO DO NO SUPPORT SYSTEM

  6. Honesty Stanfield says:

    MOST OF THESE OFFICERS IN THE COMMENTS ARE DEFENDING ACTUAL CHILD ABUSERS ! I HAVE MULTIPLE VIDEOS AND HOSPITAL RECORDS FROM MY LOS PADRINOS RESULTS ! I WAS DRAGED AND SPRAYED MUTLIPLE TIMES WITHOUT A PROPER DETOX , I WAS SPIT ON HIT BY STAFF BEFORE AS WELL AS LEFT TO DIE IN MY CELL AFTER OVERDOSE AND BEGGED FOR HELP UNTIL I WENT UNRESPONSIVE SO PLEASE STOP TRYING TO DEFEND THIS CRUELTY ANYONE DEFENDING THEM ARE AS GUILTY AS THEM

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