Okay, It’s pretty obvious that there’s a real problem in our L.A. County jails. There has been for years, long before Sheriff Lee Baca took over the department. Baca can make all the public denials about the severity of the problem he likes, and bitch and moan about the FBI’s intrusion into the case, but the fact remains, there is a problem in the jails and from the sounds of it, it’s out of control and about to crash and burn.
Baca and his top cronies continue to insist they have things well in hand and that the sheriff department is making excellent progress in dealing with the situation. He has stated time and again that the department doesn’t needs any help policing their troops and can clean up their own mess. Baca insist that don’t need any outside agencies poking around in their business. Sorry Lee this time you’re wrong.
Last year at least twelve of Baca’s star, altar boy deputies were fired for misconduct and those were just the ones who were caught. You know there had to be more. The evidence is clear and there is plenty of it. Reliable witnesses include an ACLU monitor and a chaplain. The chaplain claims to have watched as a group of deputies kick and beat an inmate who lay unconscious on the floor. The monitor said she watched a prisoner being tasered repeatedly then beaten senselessly. Baca has said nothing about the chaplains report, but he insists the ACLU allegations are unsubstantiated.
Other jail related incidents include, harassment, intimidation, misuse of tasers, abuse, and several other beatings. The latest incident involves an FBI sting in which a deputy accepted $1500 from an agent to smuggle a phone to a prisoner. The sting was part of an ongoing FBI investigation into brutality allegations against deputies assigned to the jails.
So what else is new? In the last ten years in addition to beatings and intimidation there’s been riots, killings by inmates and even allegations that deputies have banded together and formed their own ‘gang’ to brutalize inmates. Deputy gangs! Can you believe it? After the beating death the Fullerton police dished out last July, I can believe anything, and that happened on the streets, imagine what can happen behind bars, out of the public eye. I suppose the easiest way to avoid the wrath of these deputy jailers is to simply to stay out of jail! Like Tony Berreta of the old 70’s cop show used to say “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
I tell you, Lee Baca better begin rallying the troops soon. In the next few weeks California will begin sending newly convicted minor offenders to county jails instead of state prison to help ease overcrowding. If the current situation isn’t resolved before county jail populations rise, Baca is in for some real problems. With more inmates the potential for deputies to act inappropriately increases dramatically.
Baca needs to take action now. He can no longer afford to turn a blind eye on the action of his deputies working the jails or things could turn ugly quickly. If I was Baca I’d welcome the FBI investigation with open arms and allow them to help clean house. It’s obvious he can use the help. Too bad he’s too proud to admit it…