Deputy charged with assaulting teen inmate

Deputy Funicello is accused of striking an inmate with his fists in the back seat of a patrol car on July 22, 2011.

Deputy Funicello is accused of striking an inmate with his fists in the back seat of a patrol car on July 22, 2011.

LOS ANGELES – A deputy accused of beating a 19-year-old inmate in a patrol car as the teen was being transported from the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station has been charged with felony assault, authorities announced Friday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy Matthew John Funicello, 31, is charged with one count of assault under the color of authority, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

The charges were filed Thursday and Funicello was arrested around 6:50 p.m. that day and booked at the Crescenta Valley Station; he was released less than an hour later on $35,000 bail, according to LASD inmate records.

Funicello is accused of punching  a 19-year-old inmate several times in the face and torso as the inmate was in the back seat of a patrol car being transported from the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. The alleged assault occurred on July 22, 2011.

According to published reports, the inmate is Dewayne Wright, and the investigation was initiated after a citizen complaint.

Deputy Funicello was placed on paid leave shortly after the alleged beating, and he continued to receive pay until Thursday when he was charged, NBC Los Angeles reports.

Funicello is scheduled to be arraigned on May 20 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Department 30.

If convicted, Funicello faces up to three years in county jail.

  54 comments for “Deputy charged with assaulting teen inmate

  1. youngndumb
    April 14, 2013 at 9:32 am

    People got to remember that these so called protectors of the community are human and most growing up were bullies that’s why they become L.E.O they need to put that aggressive attidude towards someone they need that sence of power if there not beating citizens their beating their wife or kids. There is no excuse to lay hands on anybody for any reason even if your getting attacked according to the judicial system you turn you back and call the police or you could get charged for battery” mutal combat” it does matter how old or what he was wearing or what he did to be placed in the back of a police car, he was hand cuffed unable to defend himself from a thug with a badge. Thank god they arrested him before the cop flew into a rage or that kid would have been shot to death for saggin his pants.Police officers have the biggest and most dangerous gang in America and he must have really messed up somthing because he would never been charged. Guns don’t kill people Cops kill people

    • Honest bat player
      April 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

      you need a reality check and a dictionary…..this deputy did abuse his power, but the reality is he is human. you are ignorant and are fueling the flames of hate.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:10 am

    You cant blame the parents everytime someone does something. EVERYONE IS GIVING THEIR OPINION on weather he deserved it or not, and it has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    April 14, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Even if the kid was the AV most wanted, cops are not to break the law by assulting him,they are breaking the law. weather he deserved it or not ,it was not the cops place to disapline him by throwing him a beating. I have known cops all my life. Theres good and theres bad ones. they are a gang (more) of their own. and some people have no idea how bad they are. The truth is, people would panic if they couldnt believe in cops, but soon they will see that,just like the priest and the alterboys. bottomline.. the cop broke the law and the only difference between him and the rest is he got caught.

    • sammy P
      April 14, 2013 at 9:34 am

      totally agree READER, I have known good cops and bad cops – funny thing- I was in the same situation as the victim in this case, I was driven from Palmdale Jail to Twin Towers (drunken 4th of july fight, I didn’t do much time) and the female deputy was totally nice, she even pointed the AC vent in my direction and chatted with me for much of the way there.

      Most “bad” cops are not really BAD – they simply have an opinion on certain types of people and they think that dishing out some “street justice” is the best way to deal with it. when a BAD cop responds to a call, he won’t treat homeowners or business owners badly, he will be respectful toward them, they are upstanding members of the community, its only people that the bad cop deems to be Low Lifes, or scumbags that will receive unfavorable treatment.

      problem is- every cop has a different opinion of who the low lifes are, could be based on skin color, or the beat up car you are driving, or the poverty level of the neighborhood you live in. Any of those things could cause a cop to administer some street justice, if he believes you are part of the problem here in the AV.

      I am sure the cop named in this article has assaulted more people in his custody then just one, most just go to jail and do their time and never complain when they get out because usually it won’t do any good.

      In this case, the cop (like many other cops) probably believes that the more difficult they make it on you while in custody, the less likely you will come back to jail again.

  4. ryneshia jackson
    April 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

    if the parents of this great kid would have stepped up and discipline his then he would not have been in a back of a cop car. This sheriff had to

    • waayout
      April 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

      You sound like a complete idiot the cop have no right beating a teenager or anyone one for that matter especially while they are handcuffed!

    • Johny Chingas
      April 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

      @ryneshia: Please don’t act STup@@d with your comments.
      LASD is known to arrest anybody for whatever reason.
      They also known for beating inmates in jails all the times.
      EVEN if they are inmates, they have rights.
      IF a LASD Deputy can’t control himself, he should get another job.
      I never been arrested in my whole life. But I know they LASD manages the jail systems. They are corrupt all the way.

    • Robbie
      April 14, 2013 at 9:41 am


  5. Anna
    April 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I thought everyone was innocent until proven guilty? Just because he was charged and arrested doesn’t make him guilty…how many of the street thugs scream and scream they are innocent even while holding drugs, guns, etc…and how many are arrested and then later proven to be innocent? You can laugh and call him a bad cop, yes he was charged, but until his trial is OVER, he is considered innocent of the crimes which will be presented to a judge and jury. If everyone is so tired of these bad cops, then why don’t you join the force and be the Mr. Neighborhood Cop that young people can look up to? Make a difference not a problem. I will wait until the verdict is read before condemning anyone. We don’t get all the details in the press, and we weren’t there.

    • :(
      April 13, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      If only our young people were given the same respect you want this deputy to have. But that’s different, right? I mean, he might of had a dew rag on. A sign of guilt if there ever was one, right?

  6. Gun Owner
    April 13, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    if the punk wasn’t doing stuff he wasn’t supposed to, he would not have been in the position to get his ass kicked, and taught some respect for authority. If he was a good human, he would not have even looked like a suspect, nor committed a crime, and therefore would be just fine. He must have been wearing sagging pants, and a doo rag, so he needed to get his ass kicked.

    • Don't Trip
      April 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      I don’t care what the teen did wrong, the officer had NO RIGHT to abuse him.
      This is the exact reason teens and others do NOT have respect for these cops. Cops think they have a badge they can do whatever they want. Be lucky it wasn’t my son. Cause I would be in jail for kicking the cops ass!!

      • :(
        April 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

        DT Those who think the deputy was justified because the kid had a dew rag on or saggy pants are the same AHs that scream that the government is to big and doesn’t stay out of their business.

        So what they are saying is the government should stay out of the “Old Navy J.C. Pennys” white folks live’s. They are all for the government enforcing dress codes WITH A BEAT DOWN on everyone else.

        Disgusting that these people who would allow young men to be beat and in many cases permanently damaged physically and mentally BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY ARE WEARING! As proven by the comments here.

        What’s really scary is I bet most all of these comments are coming from our very own AV law enforcement personal.

        Guess we now know how they feel about the citizen’s they claim to serve and protect.

        • :(
          April 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

          Yet they just CAN’T UNDERSTAND why young folk look at them like they are thugs. These clowns with badges are the worst thing to happen to a good cop on the street.
          Again, Baca has let things slide for so long not sure it can be cleaned up. A purge is coming, but that mountain range separating us from LA will probably keep a effective one from happening in the AV any time soon.
          The jails are getting all the attention right now. Doubt Baca will survive that.

      • Jason
        April 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

        Im sorry, but the lack of respect for cops starts way before these teenagers get to that age. Most of these teenagers already have an inherit disrespect for LE before they even deal with one because of the environment they grow up in. Some have an attitude that no matter what the cop is wrong and therefore they can say and act how ever they want to a cop.

        As far as this case goes, none of us know what happened. How about we let the case happen before we decide to condemn someone with no facts abot the case being present other than he allegedly punched a teenager.

    • Quigley
      April 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Gun Owner…are you a deputy, or just someone fkn with people on this site? Either way you’re ignorant and probably shouldn’t own guns!

    • Rachel
      April 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      If he was a good human he would not have looked like a suspect? Lmao oh yeah i forgot, all black men are supposed to check the descriptions of all suspects for all crimes committed in the AV before they get dressed every morning, so they can make sure not to go outside”looking like a suspect.” Lol prejudiceness and racial profiling at its best. Thanks for my daily dose of reality.

  7. sikntired
    April 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

    One or two bad cops, a multitude of bad citizens.Big deal.

    • Sammy
      April 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

      5 deputies are under investigation up here. Makes more than 1 or 2 bad deputies. Yet all are under investigation or have had judgments against them. One of them has more than 3 excessive force complaints even though he’s only been on the force for 2 years.

      And those are only the ones we know about. We don’t know who shot Cobian, Dan or DL. No deputy names were released on those.

      Now add Baca, who has been under investigation by the DOJ and FBI for the last 2 years, and his second in command (who Baca finally is getting rid of August 1st) Tanaka, and we may have a problem that starts at the very top of LASD. And why is the top brass under investigation? Why, for encouraging excessive force, or being MIA while excessive force was being encouraged. They thought the problem was only at MCJ but come to find out it’s throughout the dept.

      But the cop groupies will justify it all. And we’ll pay the million dollar settlements!

      • sikntired
        April 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        under investigation does not mean “guilty”,its bound to happen when dealing with miscreants.Law abiding citizens are not cop groupies.

  8. cindy
    April 13, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Im just curious why it took almost two years for this guy to get charged.. July of 2011!!!!

    • Letlow
      April 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Because the DA’s office was obviously getting all its ducks in a row. It is my understanding that they exhaust every possible option and scenario before they make a decision to charge deputies with wrongdoing, leading the public to believe that law enforcement can get away with anything. For this deputy to have ultimately been charged there must be pretty damning evidence against him that could not be ignored. Yet and still the people on this board STILL make excuses for the deputy. SMH! Someone’s even mad because the article called the inmate a teen. NineTEEN means teenaged. I wonder what some of these people would have said if it was their son or daughter? Also, I searched on the internet and could not find a criminal record for Dewayne Wright. Could be that the kid wasn’t even charged or he was charged and acquitted. The same people on here that seem willing to give this deputy the benefit of the doubt and want to scream “innocent until proven guilty!” need to remember those words the next time they make their comments about other SUSPECTS on this site. Hypocritical people amaze me!

  9. javier
    April 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Teen inmate? The headline suggest he was a minor, this is a straight up adult!! Misleading headline AVT. Just sayin.

  10. corrupted cops again
    April 13, 2013 at 12:40 am

    See these cops keep beating on people finally this one did NOT get away with it like the low life cops that beat marco to almost death and these ones got away with it which is total BS this system is corrupt and these cops about dam time one of them get busted

    • Dwayne
      April 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      Funny thing is jurors of HIS peers convicted him. The jury wasn’t made up of cops!

  11. SM
    April 13, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Sorry folks, but a punk cop, with a gun and a badge, is a lot worse than a punk kid. The sad thing is, this happens all the time, and punk cops usually get away with it. Not this time! He’ll have fun in jail, I’m sure.

  12. dumbandblind
    April 12, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    This story is one sided! It failed to report what the 19-year-old inmate did to get the deputy or any person for that matter punching mad.

    • Letlow
      April 13, 2013 at 4:46 am

      I think it is one sided of YOU to automatically assume that the inmate did anything to make someone “punching mad.” Apparently the district attorney sees the 19-year-old inmate as a VICTIM and the deputy as an ASSAULT SUSPECT, why can’t you? Since when should the media report what VICTIM’S do to warrant an attack. Are you serious with this??? Do you want to media to report what the woman did to provoke a sexual assault too?! You people are UNREAL!!! And by the way, if this deputy is innocent until proven guilty, then so is the teen inmate. GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE!!!

      • Trish P.
        April 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

        The only reason you feel this way is because the 19 yr old was black. It’s very obvious. He sure as hell was no angel!

        • Letlow
          April 14, 2013 at 11:02 am

          @Trish Where in the article does it mention race? Do you personally know the 19 year old? If not, then how THE HELL do you know his race and the fact that he was no angel? SMH… I swear, close-minded assuming people are the worst!

          • Gun Owner
            April 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

            It is obvious he is black, have you ever heard of a white person named “Dewayne”?

          • Letlow
            April 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

            @Gun owner

            Your ignorance truly knows no boundaries does it? I actually feel kinda sorry for you. SMH! Just for kicks, here’s just one Dewayne I know offhand that rebuts your completely close-minded theory. You really should get out of this Valley more.


    • Censored
      April 13, 2013 at 8:57 am

      It doesn’t matter. If he was restrained in the back of the car, the only thing he could have done was talk. If you don’t have the patience for in inmate to talk smack to you, you shouldn’t work in law enforcement.

      • my2cents
        April 13, 2013 at 9:09 am

        @Censored and @Letlow. You’re both right about one thing:if the inmate is ONLY talking smack from the back seat, then yes, the deputy has to let that go. If it was me in that position, I would laugh at the guy…”you’re going to jail fool….and I’m not….scoreboard!”
        However, there are a FEW things that would justify an a$$ whippin in the back seat. One would be if the guy was spitting at the deputy. The deputy surely has a right to defend himself against further spitting (diseases,etc), and to me, that should include punching the guy’s face and torso till he stops. Another would be if the guy was trying to escape or vandalize the interior of the car. Yes, handcuffed inmates have been known to kick out windows and try to slither their way out of the broken window. Also, if the dude was trying to assault a second inmate in the car. We could go on and on. Not saying any of the above reasons apply to THIS case, but let’s agree there are at least a few times it would be justified. Just because some libs here want to paint the “kid” as a saint since he was “only” 19, there are plenty of 19 year old turds!

        • Letlow
          April 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

          I agree with you, HOWEVER if any of the scenarios you described had occurred, the DA’s office would surely have been charging the inmate with assault or resisting, etc. rather than charging the deputy. It took them several months of investigation before they made the decision to charge this cat, which leads me to believe they already RULED OUT all of your scenarios. Also, I read elsewhere that the deputy’s partner was in the car and is not being charged. Could be that the deputy’s partner dimed him out. I am just aghast that even with the sheriff’s department (who arrested him) and the District Attorney (who charged) him) saying this deputy assaulted the teen, people still want to believe it was the other way around. People on here refuse to accept that there are bad deputies out there that need to be weeded out. We need to weed out the bad apples like this Funicello guy in order for the community to begin trusted law enforcement again. We can’t do that if we continue to make excuses for the deputy’s behavior.

      • Dwayne
        April 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm

        Funny how when a cop supposedly screws up its ok to paint them all with a broad brush. Not all cops condone misconduct, just like not all citizens are criminals…Misconduct by either side is wrong and shouldn’t be condoned!

  13. JM
    April 12, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    If his parents had spanked him more when he was younger he probably would not have needed a whoopin at 19 years old! The 19yr old is probably a little sh*t!!

    • dumbandblind
      April 13, 2013 at 12:07 am

      He would have called in his parents for child abuse…. soon thereafter, they all would be together in jail.

  14. gladys
    April 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    When it comes to committing crime, 19 is the new 30. Peoples attitudes need to catch up with the fact that criminals or all kinds, are getting younger and younger. They don’t care if they get caught because nothing happens to them. They also are very impulsive and don’t think before they act. They think they are invincible and act like guns are toys.

    • Letlow
      April 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      And these comments are relevant how? Try to remember, the story is about a deputy being ARRESTED and CHARGED for assaulting a 19-year-old, not the other way around! Please make the appropriate generalizations then.

  15. gladys
    April 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    LASD needs to be careful. Everyone is looking to make a buck at someone else expense. Makes all of them look bad and the really bad guys get money for nothing….I don’t think the behavior he is ACCUSED of is something that should be tolerated but, God, I hate fraud, lazy people, scammers and thieves.

  16. citizen
    April 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    sounds like the cop is a punk… He would of got a way with it if a citizen did not complain. It sounds like your a punk to FUNNY. He has been getting paid on leave since 2011. WOW

    • Joe Pesci
      April 13, 2013 at 9:07 am

      citizen…I like how you cast assumption before the entire story is revealed as did the AV Times. However, you should want all the information before casting an uneducated response. The teen seems to be the poor victim that was arrested for no apparent reason. I am awaiting the reason why the 19 year old was sitting in the back of the police car in the first place. I would put money on he was arrested for ASSAULT because he was told it was unpolite to sag his huggies in public and decided to fight, but time will tell.

      Still waiting on the rest of the story as all others should. The next time you see a cop you should thank him/her for cleaning the trash off of the streets that so-called parents have produced. These men and women are always the first individuals complain about, but always the first people they call when someone stole their welfare check…

      • Letlow
        April 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm

        What are these assumptions that you speak of? FACT: The deputy was charged with felony assault. FACT: The deputy was arrested. FACT: The deputy was jailed briefly and made bail.

        Those are the FACTS and this articles reveals those FACTS. Now you talk about casting assumptions but in the same comment you go on to make assumptions about the teen and why he was in the back of the cop car. HYPOCRITICAL MUCH???

        • Joe Pesci
          April 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm

          @Letlow…You forgot another FACT, this 19 y/o clown was in the black and white for some reason. The facts you have described were presented in the ill written article that K. Enrique should be ashamed of due to it’s one sided nature. Always remember that there are two sides to each story. Also, HYPOCRITICAL MUCH??? is definitely not proper and do not speak street slang so I am a little lost here.

          • Letlow
            April 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

            Name calling? Check. Grammar checking? Check. Blasting the messenger? Check. Sounds like the ramblings of someone who has lost an argument and is grasping at straws. A DEPUTY WAS CHARGED WITH A CRIME! End of story. Deal with it. Why should the story mention the background of the VICTIM again? To somehow justify the actions of the DEPUTY CHARGED WITH SAID CRIME? To make readers believe that the VICTIM somehow had it coming? Now that my friend would be a one sided story. Kudos to AVT for telling it like it is! You seem to be APOLOGIZING for the criminal element, which is the DEPUTY in this case. Shame on you!

          • Joe Pesci
            April 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

            Haha…No name calling, definitely did not lose…didn’t know it was a competition. However, that is the problem with the community in which many non-assistance receiving individuals within the community must work to provide for these VICTIMS. So don’t worry my friend wave proudly from the back of a patrol car. Also, I will make sure that my check is taxed at a higher rate so that you can continue to bash and destroy the professionals that serve you proudly.

            Keep your head up and run with half the story.

      • sikntired
        April 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        LOL,Joe-sag his Huggies indeed.

  17. FUNNY
    April 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Glad he did what he did i am sure the kid was a punk

  18. sharon griffing
    April 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Why paid leave?

    • Censored
      April 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      It was paid leave until the charges were officially filed. They do that in case the report of incident turns out to hold no merit.

    • April 13, 2013 at 5:16 am

      I understand paid leave, but why do they take almost two years to file charges? That is a lot of paid leave for the tax payers to bear! All these public agencies need to expedite investigations when the subject is on paid leave . . .

  19. BH
    April 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    The Rexfuhrer will get him off…

Comments are closed.