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Above the Law

Lee Baca's Top Sheriff's Department Brass Had Issued Warnings About Deputies Beating Inmates

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Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM
click to enlarge Lee Baca, under fire. - DAVID MARKLAND
  • David Markland
  • Lee Baca, under fire.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca claimed recently he wasn't aware of the inmate-beating issues at his jails, even though they've been generating headlines since the late 1990s.

Over the weekend the Los Angeles Times pulled that excuse out from under him.

The paper reported that it got its hands on documents that pretty much prove that ...

... nearly two years before Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged that jailer brutality was a problem, his command staff raised alarms about excessive force used on inmates in the nation's largest jail system ...

The docs also seemed to back the previously unearthed contention that investigations of the beatings went nowhere because "deputies crafted narratives 'dramatized to justify' force."

The Times found that the cops often allegedly beat inmates simply over disrespect, or "contempt of cop."

Key witnesses were not interviewed as part of the internal investigations into the beatings, the paper claims. That's a contention that was also made by the ACLU.

One commander, James Hellmold, however, said the reports on jail violence never reached Baca himself.

Things that make you hmm.

Read the LA Weekly's cover story on alleged beatings of jailhouse visitors here.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]

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