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Rosas v. Luna

Last Update: May 31, 2023

What's at Stake

Rosas v. Luna is a class action lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), the ACLU’s National Prison Project (NPP), and the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP in 2012 against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) over its routine, excessive, and unnecessary use of force against incarcerated people in the Los Angeles Jail system.


In November 2014, the parties reached an agreement that was approved in April 2015, requiring LASD to adopt a plan – drawn up by a panel of three experts – to reform department policies and practices on use of force.

The core changes mandated in the agreement include the implementation of robust policies to stop wanton acts of violence, require force prevention efforts prior to any use of force, and a “zero-tolerance” policy for dishonesty in use of force reporting. The plan includes key recommendations of the county’s Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence – a blue-ribbon commission convened by the Board of Supervisors in 2012 to investigate allegations raised by the ACLU in its 2011 report, “Cruel and Usual Punishment” of a pattern and practice of deputy violence. The corrective plan is subject to federal court oversight and enforcement through the court’s contempt powers.

In June 2023, the ACLU, ACLU SoCal, and Paul Hastings LLP sought a modification of the implementation plan, after the LA Sheriff’s Department has failed to realize key aspects of the Rosas agreement. The motion asks the Court to order LASD to prohibit head strikes (except in rare instances when deadly force is authorized), limit use of a dangerous restraining device called the WRAP, and impose mandatory discipline of LASD employees for the most egregious violations, including for those who strike people in the head outside of policy, lie in use of force reporting, or for supervisors who excuse the dishonest reporting and/or out-of-policy uses of force.

The ACLU of Southern California files grievances with the LA County Sheriff’s Department on behalf of incarcerated individuals about conditions of confinement, including mattresses, recreation, food, access to menstrual products, medical care, mental health care, showers, overcrowding, LGBTQI classification, and other similar issues including excessive uses of force.

People who are incarcerated in the LA County Jails can call ACLU SoCal collect at #45. Their loved ones can call the ACLU SoCal family hotline at (213) 977-5209.

For more information on Rutherford v. Luna, our case challenging conditions in the LA Jails’ Inmate Reception Center, click here.

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