LASD’s No Good, Very Bad Week

A new report from Los Angeles’ Civilian Oversight Commission makes clear that dangerous deputy gangs continue to operate out of the sheriff’s department, instilling fear in colleagues and wielding violence against the public. The commission issued a series of recommendations to rid the department of this “cancer,” including a ban on gang-related tattoos and rotation of deputies to various stations.

In response, newly-elected Sheriff Robert Luna thanked the commission and reiterated his intention to “bring new leadership and accountability” to the troubled LASD.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also filed a legal motion seeking contempt of court for Sheriff Luna and the county’s Board of Supervisors. The civil rights organization says they have failed to remedy the “appalling” conditions at county jails in spite of a court order.

“After almost five decades of an endless cycle of promises followed by excuses and failures, and generations of class members enduring abysmal conditions, the time for talk is over,” the filing states.

LASD has been under federal monitoring for 30 years and civil rights advocates say little progress has been made during that time.

“The county is doing everything in its power to solve this crisis, but it needs help from outside agencies to achieve the changes that are so urgently needed,” said Robert Dugdale, an attorney representing the county. “The county will seek the court’s assistance by reducing the number of people coming to jail simply because they can’t afford bail and to provide the sheriff greater release options to safely reduce the jail population.”

Kathryn Barger was the only supervisor who publicly addressed the latest court filing, telling the Los Angele Times: “Our incarceration model is antiquated and needs to be replaced with a state-of-the-art facility staffed with quality professionals who can provide vital substance abuse and mental health treatment. This is the direction that will lead us to a more humane environment for all those in our justice system who cannot be diverted.” 


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