California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today he is launching a civil rights investigation of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The California Department of Justice investigation of the largest sheriff's department in the country comes on the heels of allegations of excessive force, retaliation and other misconduct, as well as a number of recent reported incidents involving LASD management and personnel, KFI/CNS reports

The action also comes in response to the absence of “sustained and comprehensive oversight'' of LASD's operations, according to Becerra. He did not say how far back the investigation would go.

Under the California Constitution and California Civil Code section 52.3, the AG is authorized to conduct civil investigations into whether a law enforcement agency has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating state or federal law.

As opposed to a criminal investigation into an individual incident or incidents, a pattern or practice investigation typically works to identify and, as appropriate, ultimately address potentially systemic violations of the constitutional rights of the community at large by a law enforcement agency.