Crime & Justice

10 LA Sheriff officials relieved of duty amid inmate abuse allegations

Ten Los Angeles County jail employees were relieved of duty Friday amid allegations a jail inmate was restrained in handcuffs for 32 hours without food.
Ten Los Angeles County jail employees were relieved of duty Friday amid allegations a jail inmate was restrained in handcuffs for 32 hours without food.
Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail Grant Slater/KPCC

Ten Los Angeles County jail employees were relieved of duty Friday amid allegations a jail inmate was restrained in handcuffs for 32 hours without food. The inmate allegedly had attacked a female Sheriff’s deputy at the downtown Inmate Reception Center.

The alleged incident took place June 19 and the inmate filed a complaint June 27, according to the department.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who was elected in part to clean up the county’s troubled jails, issued a statement late Saturday.

“Immediately upon learning of troubling allegations of possible neglect of an inmate…my Department’s executives relieved ten jail employees of duty, including supervisors,” he said.

Two lieutenants, one sergeant, one senior deputy, four deputies and two custody assistants, were among those relieved of duty, according to the department.

The move comes amid an ongoing FBI investigation into inmate abuse. It also follows a series of trials involving L.A. Sheriff’s deputies who work at the jail. Last month, a jury convicted three deputies of handcuffing and beating a visitor to the jail, and trying to cover it up.

“The investigation into this incident is ongoing and will be thorough,” McDonnel said. “It will not only focus on employee actions, but also on corrective policies and procedures.”

This is a sensitive time for the sheriff, who is attempting to negotiate a legal settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. It has threatened to impose reforms at the jails, which too often fails to provide adequate medical care, according to the Justice Department.