LA jail violence panel hears from experts, deputies' union

Paul Tanaka Hearing

Bear Guerra/KPCC

A crowd comprised primarily of members of the LA County Sheriff's department attended the July 27, 2012 hearing during which Undersheriff Paul Tanaka testified about allegations of abuse in county jails.

The Los Angeles Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence is expected to hear from top experts on incarceration Friday. The panel is also hearing from leaders from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS).

In early testimony this morning, ALADS President Floyd Hayhurst said deputy morale at the jails has declined as a result of new scrutiny of L.A. County lockups.

“[Morale] is probably at an all-time low,” Hayhurst said.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors created the panel after the FBI launched an investigation into allegations of widespread abuse of inmates. The ACLU has collected more than 100 declarations from inmates who say deputies beat them up.

In addition, reports from the Office of Independent Review and Special Counsel Merrick Bobb dating as far back as 20 years indicated increases in use of force by Sheriff’s deputies at Men’s Central Jail in particular.

Follow KPCC's Frank Stoltze on Twitter at @StoltzeFrankly for more.

Last week, Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka said they did not know about any abuses inside the jails. Baca also indicated he was uninterested in reviewing past abuses.

“There are limits to digging up dirt,” he said. “We know we screwed up in the past.”

The commission is expected to issue a report suggesting jail reforms later this year. The sheriff, who is independently elected by voters, is not obligated to follow them.

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