Los Angeles County sheriff to retire
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[January 07, 2014]
By Dana Feldman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Embattled Los
Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, whose department is plagued by
allegations of civil rights violations and corruption, is set to
announce his retirement rather than seek re-election, a California
newspaper reported on Monday.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff would neither
confirm nor deny media reports that Baca, 71, was to retire or
Baca's announcement would come about one month after federal
prosecutors accused 18 current or former sheriff's deputies of
beating or wrongly detaining inmates and visitors at two downtown
Los Angeles lockups and trying to cover up the abuse.
Arrests stemming from the probe of inmate abuse came more than a
year after a commission blamed Baca for failing to halt what it
determined to be a persistent pattern of excessive force against
inmates by his deputies, dating back years.
Baca, whose 10,000-member department oversees the United States'
largest county jail system and its roughly 18,000 inmates, embraced
a series of reforms recommended by the panel but declined to resign
from his post, as some critics had urged.
The timing and rationale of Baca's decision was unclear, the Los
Angeles Times reported, citing multiple anonymous sources. Baca, who
was elected in 1998 and won a fourth term in 2010, faces mounting
criticism as June balloting approaches.
Local ABC affiliate KABC-TV said Baca "intends to announce his
resignation Tuesday morning."
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A separate report released by the American Civil Liberties Union in
2011 cited the sheriff's department for a number of abuses,
including a finding that some deputies had formed gangs that
encouraged assaults against inmates.
The department faced criticism along those lines in February after
revelations that deputies had formed a secretive clique that
celebrated overly aggressive policing.
(Reporting by Dana Feldman in Los Angeles;
writing by Eric M.
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