L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca says he didn't know his deputies were allegedly beating inmates (and even visitors) at the jail facilities he's supposed to be overseeing.
Findings from the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence unleashed today indicate that maybe he was right.
But that doesn't mean he was doing his job. Following a meeting today the commission stated that he "failed to monitor and proactively control use of force."
The body said Baca allowed Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who moonlights as the mayor of Gardena, to "run the custody division without effective oversight."
The commission says Baca's underlings "insulated" him from the dirty business allegedly happening behind bars while Tanaka claims to have been "unaware" of it as well.
Perhaps the group's scariest finding is that Tanaka "vetoed" efforts to "address" the gang-like cliques of deputies operating in the county jail system, a problem known to department management since at least 2004, according to the commission.
In fact, it says, Tanaka urged his lawmen and women to "work in the grey area," and
"function right on the edge of the line" to keep inmates in check.
They say he "discouraged supervisors from investigating deputy misconduct."
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Finally, the body says, nobody in sheriff's "senior management" has been disciplined over any of this.
Commission executive director Miriam Aroni Krinsky told the Weekly that a final report with all this jaw dropping information will be released Sept. 28.
In the meantime, stop looking at us like that. Baca is an elected official. You can fire him at any time.