Los Angeles Sheriff Steps Down Amid Misconduct Accusations

    January 9, 2014
    Tina Volpe
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The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has its work cut out for them; LA is one of the highest crime areas in the nation. However, staying true to the honor behind the badge is not always the route police officers take.

Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, 71, was elected in 1998 and has been re-elected consistently based on his popularity.

The influx of accusations surrounding the Los Angeles sheriff, Lee Baca, appeared to be what caused him to announce on Tuesday that he would retire at the end of the month and not seek re-election. The department is under federal investigation amid accusations of widespread misconduct.

“I will go out on my own terms,” Mr. Baca said Tuesday morning during an emotional news conference, flanked by dozens of top deputies. “I know I turn 72 in May. I don’t see myself as the future; I see myself as part of the past. I see it as important to allow the future to run.”

In the past few months,18 officers and deputies were indicted on federal charges of abusing inmates and visitors in the county jails.

In recent years, there were more than 70 cases of misconduct by deputies, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the Sheriff’s Department, claiming that Baca and his top associates had allowed this violence to take place and in doing so, caused serious harm and even death to inmates.

A federal jury in October found Baca personally liable for $100,000 for failing to stop inmate abuse by deputies, mostly concentrated in the Men’s Central Jail due to a case initiated by a man who said he was severely beaten while awaiting trial.

Even as the F.B.I started investigations into the complaints and subsequent problems in the largest jail system in the country – the officers involved began an all out “cover-up” in an effort to hide their actions, according to federal prosecutors.

Although there is no valid excuse for the use of violence against inmates, Baca did receive the “Sheriff of the Year” award last year from the National Sheriff’s Association. The award was in recognition of the educational programs offered to inmates, and efforts to work with religious groups.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is the largest in the United States, with a staff of 18,000 and a budget of $2.5 billion.

Image via LA County Sheriff’s Department

  • Audit

    I audit correctional and legal institutions for a living. There are good cops and there are bad cops. In recent years, there have been more bad than good. There are many innocent people in our prisons. I will give you a clue on how to find a sheriff who is corrupt. If he is spending more money running for the position than the position pays, then he is corrupt to the core. I will also give you another clue on corruption. Guilty pleas. Most are forced. A district attorney will just pile on charges and on years. The defendant then pleas guilty to reduce risk. I have seen it hundreds of times.

    Bottom line is this. The public thinks what they see on TV is an accurate portrayal of cops and courtrooms. The reality is that TV is nothing like real life. Also, stop by your local prison and look how much money is being made off it. Correctional industries are big business. In fact, pull up the annual reports from CCA. They talk about maintaining inventory. What they are talking about is people. If you wonder why crime never goes down, it is because there are contracts in place to ensure that prisons are filled.

    Don’t take my word for it. Do some research. Turn off the TV and do some research.

    • http://yahoo k sheppeard

      My son is currrently incarcirated in N.Y. This isn’t the first time he’s been to jail. Although his legal issues stem from mental “problems” he never gets to see the people he needs to see to help him overcome these issues. That’s because they want him to come back, and back, and back. In Vermont we have a thing where the state saying is “Buy Vt. first” to keep our money local. If that statement were true, why do I see a Cisco truck backing up to the jail, unloading food etc., when they are from Mass. Their license plate is Mass.! THAT’s not buying Vt first.
      I also know that some of the guards bring drugs into the jails to help family members survive in there because families can’t afford to help them out. REALLY? I know this is puny compared to some of the things that go on, but my sons life isn’t puny to me. He has an addiction and should be placed in a recovery center, not a jail. And until they make jails with a recovery center next door, they ought to spend some of their “ill gotten gains” from jail housings to pay for recoveries!

    • http://yahoo k sheppeard

      This guy looks like some kind of alien, maybe Chew Baca…anyway it makes me so angry that they get to torture kids and scar them for life, as if their lives weren’t almost intollerable already. No wonder they hang themselves, who would want to be raped on a daily basis? The guards that do those things to them should crawl out of the closets they are hiding in, and do it in uniform so everyone knows just who you are and what position (no pun intended) you carry in life. That you are here to protect and serve, and you’re the sorriest excuse for a scumbag as will ever be. What filth. And then go home to their wives and children and act like they are normal people. What a joke, wait til your kids find out what you did, and what you did was huge in comparison to who you did it to. POS If someone treated your kid that way, you would be angry and indignent. Huh, maybe someday one of your kids will end up in jail. A classic case of the son paying for the sins of the father. Suck it up a&&hole, and get ready for some expensive therapy when your kid gets out and with a spark of luck maybe he might return to his former self, although I doubt it.

    • http://yahoo Kevin

      You are absolutely correct. It happened to me 25 years ago, and still haunts me to this day! I think when it comes to crime, people believe what they see on tv! you are a fool to take it to the jury, with all the piling on of charges, the average person believes the lying cops, and DA, sad state of affairs in this country!Innocent til proven guilty? PLEASE, never has never will!!!!