Following on the heels of the ACLU’s most recent lawsuit against Lee Baca and the LA Sheriff’s Department for the dangerous state of the county jail system, the LA Justice Report has launched the fourth part of its investigative series into the deep internal problems within the department. Once again, yours truly was the lead reporter on the project. This piece focuses once again on Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and his recent seizing of control over the LASD’s two internal investigative units—Internal Affairs and the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau—a move that many close to the department view as a hostile takeover, given Tanaka’s notorious dislike of IA.
The LA Justice Report spoke with three former IA investigators who each made clear that “working in the grey” policing, and aggressive internal affairs monitoring of departmental wrongdoing are irreconcilable. Robust internal affairs and deputies told by their undersheriff to push the boundaries of departmental policy cannot coexist. Something has to give. And by all accounts, when it comes to Paul Tanaka, it will be IA, not the deputies under his wing who are forced to cede ground.
This piece was supposed to be a quick-hitter that got longer and longer as more information came in from LASD sources. Part 5, set to run next month, will be a monster.