Jan 09 2014

Sheriff Lee Baca’s Surprising Resignation and The On-Going Inmate Abuse Scandal in LA Jails

Surprising nearly everyone, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca announced on Tuesday morning that he would be retiring from the Sheriff’s department after more than 40 years.

Baca who has been LA County Sheriff for the last 15 years will step down at the end of January. Although he denied resigning because of pressure from federal prosecutors, critics felt that it was a direct result of intense scrutiny from the FBI, Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union which found his tenure to be riddled with rampant abuse and misconduct.

Mounting claims about officers abusing inmates and their visitors, and falsifying documents led to an ACLU investigation in 2011 which found the LA County jail system to be one of the most troubled in the U.S. The FBI began its own investigation by placing FBI informants inside the jails and found rampant inmate beatings and even rapes. Despite clearly incriminating evidence against the Sheriff’s Department, Baca refused to take action to remedy the situation until late 2012 when he finally allowed FBI agents to review the County Jail System.

The FBI review resulted in 18 former and current members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department being indicted just recently based on allegations of inmate abuse and obstructing the FBI.

GUEST: Matthew Fleischer, Award winning LA based investigative journalist, reporter for Witness LA

Read Fleischer’s writings at www.witnessla.com.

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