The ACLU has been litigating abuses in the Los Angeles County Jails since the mid 1970s. In 1985, it was appointed monitor of the facilities that comprise the Los Angeles County Jails system. In January 2012, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Lee Baca and his top brass for condoning a longstanding, widespread pattern of violence by deputies against inmates in the Los Angeles County jails.
Please attribute the following statement to Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California:
“If proven, today’s indictments by the U.S. Attorney’s office, alleging that sheriff’s deputies, and supervisory personnel, specifically sergeants and lieutenants, attempted to thwart a federal investigation and that deputies and a sergeant were involved in repeated beatings of jail visitors and covering up those beatings, are a culmination and the epitome of a culture of abuse and corruption in the LA County sheriff’s department,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.
Sheriff Lee Baca and department officials have said repeatedly that excessive force was the fault of ‘a few bad apples.’ The federal indictments today, coupled with the findings of the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence and numerous juries that a number of high level sheriff’s officials are also responsible, suggest the entire tree may be rotten.
There is no more egregious violation of trust than when law enforcement officers, who swear an oath to uphold the law, violate it. Now the indicted officers must answer for their behavior.”
Media Contact: Diana Rubio, 213.977.5252