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Southern California

Citzens Commission to Review Use of Force in Jails

A five-person citizens commission will anaylze deputies' use of force and make recommendations to Sherriff Baca.

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to establish a citizens commission to review the use of force in county jails.

The Board voted to create the five-person commission to anaylze deputies' use of force and make recommendations to Sherriff Baca.

Sheriff Lee Baca commands the largest sheriff's department in the U.S.
Sheriff Lee Baca commands the largest sheriff's department in the U.S.

Supervisor Gloria Molina proposed taking more immediate action by implementing the recommendations of County Special Counsel Merrick Bobb and the Office of Internal Review. All five board members agreed.

Some of the recommendations made by Bobb and the OIR include the installation of security cameras, eliminating the use of heavy flashlights as weapons, banning steel-toed shoes and forbidding head strikes.

Other reccommendations include policies to prevent deputy corruption and create stronger internal supervision.

The creation of a citizens commission comes in the wake of an ACLU report from Oct. 3, which revealed the pervasive use of violence and intimidation by deputies in the county jail system. Much of the information detailed in the report came from private citizens who witnessed misconduct inside the jails, including a chaplain.

Sherriff Baca is an elected official who is responsible for management of the jail system. The Board Supervisors is limited in its authority over the Sherriff.

But ACLU legal director Peter Eliasberg suggested the Board use alternative methods to ensure jail reform. According to Eliasberg, the Board could pursue a judicial consent decree or use its power of the purse to compel the Sherriff's cooperation.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas emphasised that the focus of the citizens commission will be on future-oriented reform.

"It will not only examine past practices, it will offer the Board a roadmap to use as we move forward with reforms," Ridley-Thomas said.

Each supervisor will nominate one candidate by Nov. 1 to serve on the commission.

Related Stories:

Hundreds Rally in Support of Sheriff Baca


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