Michael Holguin never claimed to be a "saint." He's been in County Jail more times than he cares to admit and served time in state prison on a weapons charge.
However, the beating that he says LA County Sheriff's deputies gave him back in October of 2009, unprovoked he says, sounded brutal. While being escorted to the showers for the first time in two weeks, he says the deputies suddenly changed their mind. When he asked ''why?" they smashed his head into the bars on a cell and a total of 3 deputies beat him, put him in the hospital and left him in a wheelchair for six months.
They said they told him that would teach him to ask ''why?'' One of those named in Holguin's eventual lawsuit against the county, Deputy Fernando Luviano, is one of the 18 charged on Monday by the Feds in their ultra high profile FBI investigation into abuse at the LA County jail.
Holguin took some small measure of satisfaction in that, thinking that if shining the spotlight on the problem and putting some of these deputies who work in the jail behind bars themselves, then maybe that will prevent the next person from being beaten for no reason. Sheriff Baca keeps trying to downplay the severity of the problem, and every other problem that surfaces (often because of work by LA Times and other reporters) and so far he's been re-elected so he must figure the public either doesn't care, doesn't know, or doesn't want to know what goes on during 'his watch.'
But as Peter Eliasberg, the legal director of the LA ACLU chapter put it, ''Nobody deserves to be beaten'' and he wonders how anyone can look at the non-stop revelations about the Sheriff's dept and say these ''are not serious and significant problems."