Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Badges of Dishonor

In our increasing need to criminalize and penalize those we find repugnant, a category open to include those whose crimes and misdemeanors are often victimless, our jails and prisons are bursting at the seams. Those warrior cops on the block who are busy keeping the streets safe inter those in County and City facilities that have their own version of warrior cop only its actually an easier gig as their dangerous felons are now residents.

It is much easier to manage and control, sublimate and dominate those who are in your custody and whose options and choices are limited.

Today comes the story that once again the Federal Government investigating possible misconduct by Sheriffs who mind Los Angeles County jails. Shocking, I know!

The LA Times investigate the bureau and found that they had no problem hiring Officers who had committed serious misconduct on or off duty. Gee I wonder if the thousands of others who found themselves on the receiving end would now be eligible to dish it out.. I mean if you can take it?

The Times found: Of the nearly 400 officers and supervisors from the Office of Public Safety who applied to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in 2010, about 280 were hired. Of those: 188 Were rejected for jobs at law enforcement agencies before being hired by the Sheriff's Department. 97 showed evidence of dishonesty 92 were disciplined previously by other police agencies for significant misconduct on duty. 29 were fired or pressured to resign from a previous law enforcement job. 15 were flagged by background investigators for trying to manipulate the results of a polygraph

The article - Behind the Badge is an interesting read that demonstrates that protect and serve has little to do with anyone but their own. Shocking, I know.

Google the phrase "sheriffs under investigation" and it will hit many many cities and townships with equal corruption and fraud by those whose badge and access enable them to avoid the laws they enforce. Must be nice work if you can get it and apparently in LA you can regardless.

But in all honesty the thought and belief that Law enforcement is clean needs to take a swing of laundry cleaner. They are corrupt, dangerous and just as much of a threat to the public as those they claim to protect us from.

Our system of Justice is broken, shattered and destroyed. We do nothing, say nothing and we hope that we will never be a part of that system if we do good and be good. I thought that too. I don't think that anymore. The maniac who nearly killed me will have a happy holidays with his family and friends and I will be a prisoner in my own home.

Brings new meaning to the term "home for the holidays."

U.S. Charges 18 Sheriff’s Officers in Inquiry Into Misconduct at Los Angeles Jails By JENNIFER MEDINA
Published: December 9, 2013

LOS ANGELES — Federal prosecutors on Monday charged 18 current and former members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with excessive use of force and obstruction of justice as part of a sprawling investigation into allegations of misconduct and abuse of inmates in county jails, federal law enforcement officials said.

All but two of the officers, including two lieutenants, were arrested on Monday; the two deputies who were not arrested were apparently traveling, prosecutors said.

The officers all worked in the county’s jails in downtown Los Angeles.

The county’s jail system — the largest in the country and, according to many inmate advocates, the most troubled — has been under intense federal scrutiny for more than two years after a string of lawsuits accused deputies of abusing inmates.

One of four indictments returned Monday named seven officers who were supposed to monitor internal affairs. In the indictment, federal officials charged that two lieutenants tried to hide an inmate after they discovered that he was acting as an informant for the F.B.I.'s investigation.

The inmate had obtained a cellphone after one deputy at the jail accepted a bribe from an undercover federal agent, according to the indictment. The officers changed records to make it seem as if the inmate had been released, then rebooked him using a different name; one officer told the informant that he had been abandoned by federal investigators, prosecutors charge.

Two deputies then tried to obtain a court order from a county judge to get information about the federal investigation; when the judge denied the request, two sergeants from the sheriff’s department confronted an F.B.I. agent at home, threatening her with arrest, the indictment said.

“These incidents did not take place in a vacuum,” AndrĂ© Birotte Jr., the United States attorney for Los Angeles, said Monday in announcing the charges at a news conference.

“Certain behavior had become institutionalized, and a group of officers considered themselves to be above the law,” he said. “Instead of ensuring the law is defended, they are accused of taking steps to prevent that.”

The allegations come at a particularly difficult time for Sheriff Lee Baca, who is facing several challengers in his campaign for re-election next year. Sheriff Baca has repeatedly said that he responded to all charges of misconduct as soon as he was aware of them, but critics like the American Civil Liberties Union say that he willfully ignored persistent problems.

Sheriff Baca said Monday that the department had cooperated fully with the investigation, and he defended the county jails as the “safest jails in the United States.”

“We do not tolerate misconduct by any deputies,” he said.

Sheriff Baca said 14 or 15 of the officers charged were still with the department and would be placed on unpaid leave. “My employees, 99.9 percent of them, also do outstanding work.”

The two lieutenants assigned to oversee internal problems who were indicted Monday were identified as Gregory Thompson, in charge of the Operation Safe Jails Program and the jail investigations unit, and Stephen Leavins, of the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, which investigates allegations of crimes by sheriff’s officials. Both men were charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Sheriff Baca refused to say whether he knew about their actions at the time described in the indictment or whether he had been interviewed by the grand jury.

The indictment lists several cases in which visitors were taken to a break room meant for deputies at the jail and beaten. One man visiting his brother in 2011 had his arm broken and shoulder dislocated and was locked up for five days without justification, Mr. Birotte said. The man, who was not named in the indictment, now has a permanent disability, officials said.

The indictment also charges Sergeant Eric Gonzalez, who supervised the visitor center but no longer works for the department, along with four deputies who reported to him; each participated in at least one beating, according to the court documents. Mr. Gonzalez was accused of scolding deputies who did not use force against visitors who “disrespected” sheriffs.

In June 2011, according to the indictment, the husband of the Austrian consul general was arrested near the entrance to the visitor center. When the diplomat later asked to speak to a supervisor about her husband’s arrest, she was also arrested, although she was not charged.

No comments:

Post a Comment