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Investigation Into Sheriff's Deputies' Christmas Brawl

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Internal and criminal investigations have been started into a brawl at a Christmas party that involved seven Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.

The fight broke out around 11:30 p.m. Friday outside Quiet Cannon in Montebello, according to sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Whitmore says the party was being held for deputies who work at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles and only deputies were involved in the brawl.

He says two deputies were treated at the scene for mild or moderate injuries.

A source told CBS2/KCAL9's Serene Branson that all the deputies were drunk and the altercation began when one of them began "talking trash, asking why it takes so long to escort inmates into the visitor's area."

The source also said some of the deputies involved sport tattoos that identify them as being from different parts of the jail.

"All of that will be contained in this investigation, and that very well may be true," Whitmore said. "Is there a culture that's endemic to this? Perhaps there is. Is it going to stop? Yes. It's going to stop."

Montebello Police say officers responded to a 911 call at the restaurant. In a statement, the department said a man who identified himself as a sheriff's department captain told the officers at the door that everything was fine and that they would handle it.

Two deputies went to Montebello Police Department to file a report, but the sheriff's department will handle those reports.

Whitmore says seven deputies have been relieved of duty while the department investigates.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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