The charges came after a former recruit claimed that on his second day at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in 2010 his training officer, Brunsting, brought him to assault the inmate for leaving his cell without permission and mouthing off.
"We're going to teach him a lesson," the recruit, Josh Sather, recalled Brunsting saying.
The recruit, who graduated at the top of his class, explained in court that they led the inmate into a hallway and tackled him and hit him multiple times, but stopped when the man did not resist. That did not stop the other deputies however, who began kicking and punching the inmate, who was curled up on the ground and screaming. The incident concluded with deputies spreading the inmate’s legs open and the training officer kicking him in the crotch.
After the beating, the deputies met to discuss their plan to falsify reports and justify the vicious assault.
During the closing arguments of the case, the prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney Brandon Fox, explained to the jurors that Brunsting and Branum were not just simply letting the inmate know that disrespect would lead to punishment, but something potentially even more sinister.
"The second lesson was for Joshua Sather, the honor recruit, the future of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department," Fox said. "That lesson was simple: This is how you beat an inmate. This is how things are done at Twin Towers. It was as much a lesson as much as it was a test."
The trial lasted four days, and the jury came back with a guilty verdict after 90 minutes of deliberation. Brunsting will face another trial later this year for a separate civil rights violation relating to a second use-of-force incident at Twin Towers.