Los Angeles County Sheriff Baca to Investigate Inmate Beatings
The announcement comes in the wake of allegations from civilian witnesses of deputy-on-inmate abuse in the LA County jail system, reports of multiple FBI investigations into prison conditions in the county, and the death on Thursday of an inmate who was punched in the head by a deputy two days earlier.
"A number of allegations of misconduct including excessive force by Sheriff’s Department jail staff have been brought to my attention by way of a report from the American Civil Liberties Union," Baca wrote in the announcement. "I take these allegations very seriously."
That ACLU report documented hundreds of inmate complaints about deputy-on-inmate abuse, with testimony from civilian witnesses including two chaplains and a volunteer tutor.
"In response to the 78 declarations alleging criminal or administrative misconduct, I have brought together a Special Jail Investigations Task Force consisting of 35 full-time investigators to thoroughly investigate each of these allegations," Baca said. "While some allegations were previously investigated, each will be thoroughly re-investigated by this task force. The progress of each investigation is available to the Office of Independent Review."
The launch of the investigation has been paired with the creation of a task force composed of four commanders, according to Baca's announcement.
The task force will review the inmate complaint process and build "partnerships with employees, clergy, educators, volunteers, and independent oversight to further enhance services to inmates, as well as being open and transparent," the announcement said.
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