On Monday Dec. 9 Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca held a press conference to respond to the F.B.I. arrests of 17 Los Angeles sheriff's deputies.
Los Angeles County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas has joined the chorus of voices calling for improved oversight of the L.A County Sheriff's Department. It follows the arrests of 18 current and former deputies on charges of abusing inmates and jail visitors.
"This should not be taken lightly because of the need to make sure that we are building a culture where no one operates under the impression they are above the law", said Ridley-Thomas.
The federal investigation uncovered a series of civil rights violations, including excessive force and unlawful arrests.
Speaking in response to the case, U.S. Attorney, Andre Birotte, Jr. said "These incidents did not take place in a vacuum. In fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized."
Ridley-Thomas acknowledged that Sheriff Lee Baca, an elected official, would have to consent to increased oversight but argued that it is in his "best interest" given the controversy surrounding the scandal. Should civilians have more oversight over law enforcement entities? Should greater scrutiny be built into public entities?
Michael Gennaco, Chief Attorney, L.A. County's Office of Independent Review
Brian Buchner, President, National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement - founded in 1995