If you thought that cops have a different justice system than the rest of us, that they can be, indeed, above the law when faced with serious allegations of their own, this story might prove you right.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that despite serious allegations of assault that got deputies fired, Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials never brought the cops to the attention of the District Attorney's office.
In fact, says the paper …
… Sheriff's Department officials chose not to give the evidence to the district attorney's office, opting to handle the cases internally.
Yeah, we'll take care of it while you look the other way. (Why do we hear the sounds of sweeping and a rug being lifted?).
The cases include a deputy who allegedly beat an inmate and ultimately landed a knee on his head while being told by a superior to stop; a deputy who is accused of putting his hand around an inmate's throat and pushing him into a glass window and ultimately to the ground; a deputy who allegedly inflicted so many elbow strikes on an inmate that the victim suffered brain swelling; and more.
In May the Weekly's Chris Vogel reported anew about abuse allegations within Sheriff Lee Baca's troubled county jail system, the largest in the country. The Times followed in September, although the paper had been covering such allegations on and off for at least a decade.
We've been calling Lee Baca, an elected official, the Teflon Sheriff because the allegations don't seem to tarnish his political career. However this fall marks the first time he acknowledged problems inside his jails.
Experts tell the Times anytime there are serious allegations of assault by a deputy and an internal investigation is launched, the District Attorney's office should be notified. Baca agreed:
If we think we're going to fire somebody and believed they used excessive force, it should also be sent to the D.A.'s office. Let the D.A. make the determination.