L.A. County Sheriff Faces Criticism Over Promotions, Transparency

Social justice advocates are decrying L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s recent promotion of two deputies with a history of questionable conduct and officer discipline.

One of the men who recently moved up the ranks once organized a contest to see which officer could arrest the greatest number of people in a 24-hour period, earning him a public rebuke from then-Sheriff Lee Baca. He was also demoted after authorizing wrongful use of a taser in an incident that ended up costing the county $4.25 million. In a separate case, he and another officer were found to have used unreasonable force by a jury.

He’s now in charge of the Norwalk station.

The other deputy has been promoted from captain to commander. He was suspended in 1999 for making false statements in his reports.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell rebuffed the criticism, saying all of the department’s recent advancements were thoroughly vetted.

In addition to the promotion controversies, McDonnell’s department is taking heat from Inspector General Max Huntsman for a failure to implement transparency improvement measures. The sheriff’s watchdog complained that he is getting “slow-walked” by sheriff’s officials.

“In our modern, digital age, there is no reason not to have immediate information on the website accessible by anybody regarding critical information that we all want to know,” Huntsman said Thursday during a meeting of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission. “How many people are being shot? How many people is force being used against? … When people are found to have lied, do they get fired?”

Apparently they get promoted.


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