Spot-on editorial in the LA Times taking on LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and his supposed anger over the botched federal investigation into the LA County Jail system. Baca caught the feds smuggling a cellphone to an inmate informant and has been all over the news complaining about it. The Times rightly puts him in his place.
If Baca is truly interested in demonstrating the integrity of his department and protecting the reputation of his deputies, he should welcome the FBI probe, not obstruct it.
Here’s the deal that isn’t being widely reported. Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka absolutely knew that Men’s Central Jail was a violent mess–and that street gang-like deputy cliques played an integral role in that violence. They knew this because their on-the-ground captain of the jail John Clark told them so in 2006, as he attempted to fix the problem. He was never allowed to. Tanaka summarily removed Clark from his position before the reforms were even instituted. In the years to come, jail violence only got worse.
Baca and Tanaka did not fix this problem when they had the chance. And they need to be held responsible now.