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Lee Baca's Jail Beating Problem Gets Watchdog With Teeth: Fellow Top Cop Jim McDonnell

Sheriff Lee Baca has the FBI and the ACLU breathing down his neck over the alleged beatings of inmates (and even visitors) at his L.A. County jails.

Now the omnipotent if not low-profile County Supervisors seem to be in a pissing contest to see who can appoint the bigger hard ass to its Citizen's Commission on Jail Violence. Supervisor Gloria Molina showed her cards earlier this week: Her pick would be former state Supreme Court associate justice Carlos R. Moreno.

Not to be outdone, Supervisor Don Knabe upped the ante today with ...

... Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell.

He's the guy we chastised recently for saying it's perfectly legal to detain people simply for taking pictures (really).

We'll give him this -- he's a tough and well-respected cop. So much so that he was a top candidate to replace former LAPD Chief William Bratton.

Knabe:

Chief McDonnell has had a distinguished career in law enforcement and is a respected leader in policing issues His experience serving in Los Angeles County's two biggest cities will be vital to formulating new ideas on how to deal with the issues in our jails. Chief McDonnell's knowledge as a user of jail systems and his understanding of the incredibly difficult job our deputies face will bring a unique perspective to the Commission. I appreciate his willingness to serve.

McDonnel took over the LBC department in 2010.

Should Baca be afraid, or will McDonnell cut his fellow top cop a break?

[Added]: We spoke to McDonnell today, and he said it's not about Baca, it's about the system:

I'm not going into it looking to criticize any individual. We look at procedures, tactics ... and to see if we have recommendations to make things better.

I was honored that Supervisor Knabe nominated me for the position. I imagine it will be a lot of work.

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@dennisjromero

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djromero@laweekly.com

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