LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Lawsuits involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department accounted for $43 million in expenditures — nearly half the county’s overall litigation costs — last year, according to reports.
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the payouts were revealed this week by attorneys for the county Board of Supervisors.
According to the Los Angeles Times, overall spending on lawsuits was approximately $89 million in 2013, down from $115 million in 2012. Out of last year’s expenditures, $43 million was related to the Sheriff’s Department — including $20 million in excessive force cases — marking a $7 million jump up from the previous year, The Times reported.
The costs include settlements, judgments and legal fees for attorneys and law firms hired by Los Angeles County, The Times reported.
In one case that proceeded to the trial stage, a jury awarded nearly $9 million to the family of a man who was fatally shot by deputies after he backed his car into an unmarked LASD vehicle following a pursuit, according to The Times.
At a recent Board meeting, Supervisor Gloria Molina said the county’s resources could have been put to better use.
“We have to be prepared because there are issues in which we must defend our deputies, the actions that they take and the responsibilities that they carry out. And they lay their life out for. And I am prepared to do so as a member of this board,” Molina said.
But when you hear some of the things that some of these deputies have done and how we need to continue to pay them while we’re investigating for a year, two years, maybe three years, it is shameful.”
Sheriff Lee Baca announced Tuesday he would not seek reelection and would retire at the end of January after the department faced increased scrutiny over allegations of abuse of jail inmates and misconduct among deputies.