Los Angeles News

Jails-abuse memos reached sheriff 2 years ago

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is on the defensive after new developments are revealed in an investigation of alleged deputy misconduct and brutality at county jails. The sheriff's staff raised concerns about brutality charges nearly two years ago.

The latest revelations about Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and county jails have renewed the ACLU's call for Baca to resign.

Baca's command staff two years ago was sending memos about serious misconduct by deputies on inmates in the jails.

The American Civil Liberties Union says Baca has claimed his command staff kept him in the dark.

Sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore disputes the idea the sheriff did not know about serious problems.

"He was aware of it. The question that needs to be answered is, 'Was the response to the challenges sufficient enough?' And apparently in the sheriff's own thinking now, it wasn't," said Whitmore.

The memos found that deputies made up stories to justify unnecessary force. They even delayed using non-lethal weapons so the beatings of inmates would continue.

In a statement, the ACLU said: "What is becoming increasingly clear is the picture of a department out of control and the need for a leader capable of and committed to reining it in."

According to Baca's spokesperson hundreds of deputies were retrained after the command staff pointed out the problems.

"From these memos, training did come: eight-hour blocks for these sergeants and the lieutenants already assigned to custody. And then the newly promoted sergeant and lieutenants, they got 16-hour blocks," said Whitmore.

The U.S. Attorney and FBI are now investigating allegations of inmate abuse and deputy brutality in the jails.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has also asked the sheriff what's going on in the jails and why. Baca is expected to give his long-awaited report to them Tuesday.

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los angeles county sheriff's department, los angeles news, john north
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