Something Really Rotten in LA County: Secret List of Problem Deputies Thwarts Constitutional Justice

Fifty-four years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must make defendants aware of all evidence that might be favorable to their cases, including information that could undermine the credibility of the government witnesses who, for the most part, are police officers. That constitutional principle is massively violated in LA County, thanks to the way prosecutors here are barred from accessing the personnel records of the Sheriff Department's 9,400 sworn officers—mostly sheriff's … [Read more...]

Did the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Defraud the Feds?

Has the department’s “culture of corruption,” as the U.S. Attorney put it, been adequately swept away? An investigation into possible incidents of high-level fraud relating to a fleet of Sea King helicopters loaned under a controversial Defense Department program suggests a troubling answer. In August 28, 2013,  Dave Rathbun sent an email to Chief Edmund Sexton of the Homeland Security Division of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD). “Chief Sexton,” wrote Rathbun, who had been a … [Read more...]

LA County Tiptoes Forward on Bail Reform

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should give quick approval Wednesday to a proposal by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to consider overhauling the county’s money bail system. Too bad it’s the only thing about this vital effort that could be done with any urgency. It should be obvious that it’s long past time to reconsider a system that keeps L.A. County jails crowded with people who are just cooling their heels awaiting trial because they can’t afford to pay bail, while their riskier but … [Read more...]

Metro Approves $646M Annual Multi-Agency Transit Policing Contract

At last Thursday’s meeting, the Metro board approved a new five-year multi-agency transit policing contract. For the past decade, transit policing had been done by the L.A. County Sheriff Department (LASD.) Under the new contract transit policing will be done by LAPD, LASD, and Long Beach Police Department. When the proposal first came to the board in November-December 2016, it was $547 million annually: L.A. Police Department – $370 million – 68 percent L.A. County Sheriffs … [Read more...]

After the Tanaka Verdict

The conviction of former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka on Wednesday for corruption of justice is not only an important milestone in the process of reforming the nation’s largest sheriff’s department, but a significant step towards the reform of American policing in general. While prosecutors are notoriously slow to bring charges against police officers—and juries are equally reluctant to convict those few officers who are charged with crimes—the case of the scandal-ridden L.A. … [Read more...]

Los Angeles County Sheriff Convicted

  This week, a federal jury convicted former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka of conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. Tanaka’s conviction and former Sheriff Lee Baca’s recent guilty plea are remarkable developments given the department’s long and troubled history of violence and impunity. But the convictions are only a first step. The problems that have long plagued the jails are not isolated to one individual or an isolated incident of obstruction of justice. … [Read more...]

Six Years Later Mitrice Richardson’s Death Still An Unsolved Mystery

efore Black Lives Matter became a movement, before there was daily around the clock scrutiny of the police on the evening news and before videos showcasing police brutality on African-Americans came a dime a dozen–her life mattered. It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson and five years since her decomposing naked corpse was found in a Malibu ravine. By now you should know the story. 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson found herself at … [Read more...]

Consultant’s Report Clashes with Calls for Smaller Men’s Central Jail

A consultant hired by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has determined that the new Men's Central Jail should contain about 5,000 beds — roughly the same number as a plan that the board voted to put on hold last month. Three supervisors, including newly elected Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, want to reexamine the size of the proposed new jail, which they believe could be reduced if more inmates, particularly those with mental illness, are placed in treatment programs in the … [Read more...]

LA’s Top Cops Show Their True Colors: Not Pretty

“It should be clear to everyone that the LAPD and the criminal justice system will hold officers accountable for their actions when they operate outside the law​.​”—LAPD's Charlie Beck, commenting on the sentencing of former officer Mary O'Callaghan ’ve never bought into the notion that the while rest of the ​nation still has to suffer with abusive police practices and ​with recalcitrant, uninspired police leaders, sunny Los Angeles has been singularly blessed by enlightened law enforcement … [Read more...]

On Tuesday, Stand Up for Effective Oversight of LASD

The long organizing effort by anti-brutality activists hits a milestone tomorrow when the working group on civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department presents its report to the Board of Supervisors. Justice Not Jails asks everyone who supports an effective and independent oversight body to show up and be prepared to comment at the meeting, which starts at 9:30 at 500 W. Temple Streets in downtown LA (usually the first hour of the Supervisors' meeting is filled with … [Read more...]