Final Report by L.A. Sheriff Watchdog Slams Top Leaders Baca and Tanaka
Los Angeles County Sheriff monitor Merrick Bobb has issued a scathing rebuke of former Sheriff Lee Baca and his chief assistant Paul Tanaka in his final report before stepping aside.
The 62-page-report was released Thursday. In it, Baca is painted as a feckless leader who allowed Tanaka to largely run the show.
“To say that Sheriff Baca over-delegated to Paul Tanaka understates the matter,” the report said. “Paul Tanaka managed to repay Baca's loyalty, quick promotions, and sustained mentoring by undercutting the Department's moral authority and mocking the values that Lee Baca so often professed to be central to his vision.”
According to the report, Tanaka hasn’t changed much since his days a member of the Vikings—an unsanctioned group of deputies who were accused of engaging in racially-motivated hostilities against inmates. Merrick further accuses Tanaka of leading “an anti-reform counter movement” within the department and encouraging deputies to “work in the gray zone” while serving as undersheriff.
Bobb also took the board of supervisors to task, saying the jail scandal could have been prevented with better oversight and discipline.
Bobb is stepping down after 22 years, with his monitoring responsibilities to come under the purview of the new inspector general. Paul Tanaka, who currently serves as mayor of Gardena, is running to replace Sheriff Lee Baca in November. But since garnering just 15 percent of the vote in the June 3 primary, Tanaka has been largely absent from the campaign trail, even vacating his campaign headquarters in Torrance.
On Tuesday, Tanaka addressed questions over his absence via Twitter. “We are still in the race but giving our supporters an opportunity to spend the summer with their families,” the tweet read.
Read more about Merrick Bobb's final report here.