LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he is to blame for deputy misconduct and brutality against inmates in the nation’s largest jail network.

He acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times that he was out of touch about problems in the jails and failed to put into place important reforms that could have minimized violence against inmates.

“The truth is, I should’ve known,” Baca said. “So now I do know.”

Baca, who is in his third term, said that his subordinates often insulated him from “bad news.”

The sheriff’s department and its top official have come under intense criticism since the American Civil Liberties Union released a report last month alleging abuse and other misconduct by deputies. The FBI has demanded internal department documents detailing the use of force on inmates over several years, as well as other records.

The probe includes allegations that deputies carved racist initials into one inmate’s head and broke the jaw of another inmate.

Federal officials declined to discuss details of the investigation.

Baca said he only recently noticed that 69 video cameras purchased more than a year ago to monitor deputies and inmates at Men’s Central Jail had not been installed.

“There’s no excuse for such a major project as this going undone,” he said, promising to install the cameras by the end of the year.

Baca also expressed regret that he hadn’t implement routine floor assignment rotations at the Central Jail earlier, a reform that watchdogs say would reduce the possibility of deputies forming gang-like groups in the jail.

County Supervisor Gloria Molina criticized the department’s failure to carry out numerous reforms suggested by watchdogs over the years.

“I think he needs to be much more aggressive,” Molina said about Baca, describing the sheriff as a “sweetheart.”

Molina told the Times that Baca needed to make a series of sweeping reforms, including putting new limits on when deputies can use head strikes against inmates, intensifying supervision by having sergeants regularly patrol the jail floors and requiring nurses and other medical staff to report suspicious inmate injuries.

The sheriff’s department operates the largest jail system in the United States, and provides police patrols for communities across Los Angeles County and security for the city’s mass transit system.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Comments (13)
  1. Eddy L. Smith says:

    Baca, who is in his third term, said that his subordinates often insulated him from “bad news.”

    has he fired these subordinates since they keep him from knowing what is going on? Since they now too are incrimated in these coverups? If not, why not? or is this just another cover up to cover up the coverups?

  2. Eric Slowik says:

    What a piece of work ! Guese who owns the vendor licence that sells food to the inmates ? …His daughter lol. 2 bucks for a top ramen soup ? hmmmmm

  3. Ron says:

    “SWEETHEART” Baca needs to be FIRED ASAP !!! He has shown that he is INCOMPETENT !!!! 69 cameras bought over 1 year ago that he has not installed yet, he has NOT done the floor assignment rotations and he doesn’t even know what is going on.

    That is why this FBI investigation is CRITICAL, but he CANNOT be given more time. He and ALL personnel that has been involved in the CORRUPTION/COVERUPS needs to be FIRED NOW !!! They ARE a CANCER.

  4. Chris Blair says:

    IMO, Baca is only “accepting” the blame in order to get the feds and the ACLU to disappear.

    Remember the feds have served Baca with a subpoena request for all records dating back to 2009 for use of force reports, medical reports, discipline reports etc.

    I say “where there is smoke – there is fire and in this case – probably a raging inferno.

  5. cez says:

    ohhhh poor inmates. come on people wake up.

    1. Mac says:

      Never heard of an innocent person, “material witness”, or traffic law violator (unpaid parking tickets) being thrown in jail? Of course, you appear to have the opinion that there are no bad cops, only great ones. You are the one who needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Also, are you willing to pick up the lawsuite settlement tab that will come out of this new fiasco?

  6. Bob L. says:

    cez – I am a wake. Bad (and not so bad) prisoners get long sentences. County jail, many waiting for trial, they are not guilty or guilty until their day in court.
    Baca had to know this was happening. We have read about many beatings since Baca took over.

    Why did the FBI not even tell Baca about their investigation?

    He is trying to cop out by now taking the blame where he basically told those a short time ago were to GO! Now he knows he is in too deep and now where their is no more finger pointing that can be done, he is making an end run.

    1. Mike says:

      Bob, you sound like you have it all figured out. I hope one of those “not so bad prisoners” gets out of jail soon and steals everything you own. Then, maybe then, you might wake up and realize those “not so bad prisoners” were in jail for a reason.

      And by the way BOB, you’re far from awake!

      1. wdaf says:

        And, I hope someone, like the salon shooter, that’s never been to jail shoves a gun in the face of pu$Sy dumbf**ks like you and pulls the trigger. A few less dumbf**ks like you would be a welcome relief, pus$y dipsh!t.

  7. duh. says:

    dont go to jail period

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