LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles County officials Tuesday rejected a plan to create a permanent civilian panel to oversee the Sheriff’s Department.
KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against the proposal, which would have established a Los Angeles County Citizens Law Enforcement Commission in response to a civil rights investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice into allegations that sheriff’s deputies may have abused inmates.
Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina – who introduced the motion last September – were the proposal’s only supporters on the board.
“I do not want to protect a corrupt cop. I don’t want to protect a management system that covers up for bad cops,” Molina said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We need a system with integrity.”
Opponents of the plan have argued such a review board would be essentially powerless against the Sheriff’s authority under California state law.
Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman was named last December to lead the county’s Office of Inspector General, in which he is responsible for making policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on jail conditions, allegations of misconduct and the use of force by deputies, among other issues.
KCAL9’s Dave Lopez rewports Huntsman will now be able to hire a full-time staff and operate with an annual budget of $5 million.
Ridley-Thomas meanwhile voiced frustration over those supervisors who felt they needed to get the office of Inspector General up to full speed first before considering any civilian panel.
“We need both,” he said. “It’s beyond me why it’s so difficult for this board to fully comprehend that.”
Supporters like Patrisse Cullors-Brignac of Dignity and Power Now said that even an advisory-only board would help bring healing to local families.
“The community has diagnosed the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as having an infection,” Cullors-Brignac said. “Although there’s been many reforms, such as the office of Inspector General, that isn’t the ‘end-all be-all’.”
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