LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on Wednesday vowed to reform the nation’s largest jail system in the wake of allegations of deputy brutality against inmates.
Baca said he will implement all the suggestions by a county commission that blamed him for ignoring repeated warnings of excessive force in the county’s jails, which house about 19,000 inmates. The commission released a report Friday that included 63 recommendations, including the hiring of an outside custody expert to run the jails.
“I couldn’t have written them better myself,” Baca said at a news conference at the downtown Men’s Central Jail, the site of many allegations of deputy misconduct.
Baca said he will also establish an independent watchdog with the authority to investigate inside the jails and elsewhere in the sheriff’s department. For years the department has been monitored by two civilian watchdogs, but neither had the power to launch investigations.
Other reforms include harsher penalties for excessive force and dishonesty.
“I do have some deputies who have done some terrible things,” Baca said. “You can’t judge the whole by the few.”
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