Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs Charged with Corruption and Civil Rights Violations

Charges were filed yesterday that involve approximately 17 current and 2 former deputies who have been accused of beating inmates and visitors, falsifying reports, as well as obstructing justice, conspiracy and corruption. The criminal complaint and grand jury indictments contain, among other charges against the deputies, allegations that records were falsified, visitors to and inmates at the L.A. County Jail were unlawfully detained and excessive force was imposed. One of those charged was a Lieutenant who oversaw the safe jails program and another Lieutenant was responsible for investigating allegations of crimes committed by sheriff’s personnel. Three deputies were also accused of mortgage fraud.

The U.S. Attorney said “These incidents…. demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized [and] shows how some members of the Sheriff’s Department considered themselves to be above the law.”

County Sheriff Lee Baca said he has made improvements to the Men’s Central Jail, such as a newly hired head of custody, reorganizing the command staff, and to create a database to track inmate complaints.

The fact remains that while there have been enhancements and changes to the L.A. County jails, and they have been under scrutiny for brutality and corruption, the ongoing investigations seem to have taken far too long to rise to the level for charges to be ultimately filed.