Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is reopening several investigations into allegations of deputy brutality in county lockups, and making changes in how deputies interact with inmates, he announced at a Sunday press conference.
Sheriff Baca said he department would reopen the case of a top department rookie who abruptly resigned after he was allegedly forced by his supervisor to beat a mentally ill inmate inside Twin Towers jail. Baca also pledged to reopen dozens of other case, involving allegations from inmates and civilian volunteers.
The ACLU of Southern California called for Baca's resignation, after releasing its annual "Jails Report."
"Sheriff Baca bears ultimate responsibility for the horrific details we uncovered compiling this report and must step down," said Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the ACLU's southern California chapter. "Deputy-on-inmate abuse has reached levels we've never seen before … This report clearly demonstrates that there is a salient pattern of unprovoked, excessive force and abuse against inmates, many of whom are not resisting."
The FBI is currently investigating the abuse claims. Federal agents recently set up an undercover sting in which a deputy was offered $1,500 to smuggle a cellphone to a Men's Central Jail inmate who was secretly working as a federal informant.
On Sunday, Sheriff Baca announced reforms he said included the creation of a team of top brass responsible for improving "educational opportunities, health benefits, and spiritual growth" for inmates. He also said he would host "town hall" meetings to hear the concerns of inmates directly.
Source: Los Angeles Times