Sheriff Baca, Undersheriff Tanaka meet with LA panel on jail violence

Sheriff Lee Baca and Men's Central

Grant Slater/KPCC

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca conducts an inspection of Men's Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles in this photo from December 2011.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and his second-in-command are scheduled to appear Friday before the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence.

To date, the panel has heard from former jail inmates, civil rights lawyers and lower-ranking sheriff’s officials about allegations of widespread abuse inside Los Angeles County lockups. This is the first it’ll hear from the men at the top: L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

At least some of the focus will be on Tanaka, who’s come under fire from subordinates who accuse him of turning a blind eye to misconduct by sheriff’s guards.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors created the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence after the FBI opened an investigation into allegations that guards beat up inmates with impunity. Sheriff Baca has won praise for creating a jails task force and installing new leadership at Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. — where inmates say many of the abuses have occurred.

The panel is reviewing a number of reforms, including potential changes in the leadership structure and discipline system at the jails.

Keep updated on the testimony by following Frank Stoltze on Twitter.

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