Sheriff Needs Watchdog in Wake of Deputy Indictments: Official

FBI agents arrest current and former LA County Sheriff's deputies allegedly involved in jail abuse scandal

A Los Angeles County supervisor on Tuesday called for more oversight of the Sheriff's Department in the wake of the indictment of 18 current and former deputies in a jail abuse scandal.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said that the county must take a greater oversight while his colleague, Gloria Molina, said she has lost confidence in Sheriff Lee Baca.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, meanwhile, said he believes there are going to be more arrests. He also believes it's going to go higher up.

"You don't have sergeants and lieutenants getting arrested without having somebody above them knowing what's going on," he said.

The news comes a day after 18 current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were arrested on suspicion of civil rights and corruption violations.

The arrests stem from a two-year federal probe into corruption and inmate abuse within the Los Angeles County jail system, the United States Attorney's Office said in a press release.

The deputies, most of whom were active on the department but none of whom are above the rank of lieutenant, were either arrested without incident or surrendered Monday to FBI agents.

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The deputies are alleged to have committed crimes including use of force under color of authority and obstruction of justice.

Ridley-Thomas said the mechanism for oversight would be a blue-ribbon panel that he and Supervisor Gloria Molina proposed earlier this year but that has stalled for the lack of a third vote on the five-member Board of Supervisors.

They will revisit the proposal in January.

Ridley-Thomas acknowledged that Sheriff Lee Baca, an elected official, would have to consent to increased oversight but argued that it is in Baca's "best interest" given the emerging controversy."

In a statement released Monday, Baca addressed the arrests.

"While the indictments were not unexpected, it is nevertheless a sad day for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department," Baca said. "We do not tolerate misconduct by any deputies ... No one is above the law." 

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