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Posts Tagged ‘Lee Baca’

LA Weekly Publishes List of Concealed-Weapons Permit Holders

The sidebar to Gene Maddaus’ explosive LA Weekly cover story about the concealed-weapons permits granted by the office of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca (to mostly judges and reserve officers) is also fully loaded.

Via a public information request last year, the enterprising reporter obtained a full list of 341 people who, in May of 2012, were in possession of such permits from the LASD. Maddaus tells FishbowlLA there are several other city agencies besides the Sheriff’s office that issue concealed-weapons permits, and that probably at any given time a few hundred more people in LA County have these privileges.

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Mel Gibson May Have to Testify in LASD Discrimination Trial

Mel Gibson may be called to testify in the discrimination case of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputy James Mee. Mee is the deputy who arrested Gibson back in 2006, and who Gibson allegedly berated with anti-Semitic comments. Mee alleges that supervisors made him scrub Gibson’s anti-Semetic slurs from his report on the incident–and that he was subsequently denied promotions as a result of the incident.

Gibson had worked as a spokesperson for the department prior to his arrest and was seen as close with the top brass. LA Sheriff Lee Baca may also be called to testify.

We here at FishbowlLA typically prefer our news substantial, rather than circus freakshow. But you better believe if these two hit the witness stand it we’ll be down at the courthouse with all the other bozos, throwing elbows while struggling to get one coherent five-word question in.

LA Justice Report Launches Part 4 of Its Investigation Into the LA Sheriff’s Department

Following on the heels of the ACLU’s most recent lawsuit against Lee Baca and the LA Sheriff’s Department for the dangerous state of the county jail system, the LA Justice Report has launched the fourth part of its investigative series into the deep internal problems within the department. Once again, yours truly was the lead reporter on the project. This piece focuses once again on Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and his recent seizing of control over the LASD’s two internal investigative units—Internal Affairs and the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau—a move that many close to the department view as a hostile takeover, given Tanaka’s notorious dislike of IA.

A snippet:

The LA Justice Report spoke with three former IA investigators who each made clear that “working in the grey” policing, and aggressive internal affairs monitoring of departmental wrongdoing are irreconcilable. Robust internal affairs and deputies told by their undersheriff to push the boundaries of departmental policy cannot coexist. Something has to give. And by all accounts, when it comes to Paul Tanaka, it will be IA, not the deputies under his wing who are forced to cede ground.

This piece was supposed to be a quick-hitter that got longer and longer as more information came in from LASD sources. Part 5, set to run next month, will be a monster.

LA Justice Report Launches Second Part of Its Investigation into LA County’s Jails

The LA Justice Report, a journalistic collaboration between Witness LA and Spot.us, of which yours truly is the lead reporter, has published the second part in a series of articles investigating the troubled state of LA County’s jail system. In our latest piece we speak with a former commander in charge of Men’s Central Jail, Bob Olmsted, who repeatedly tried to warn Sheriff Lee Baca, Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, and others in the LASD command staff that deputy on inmate abuse in the jails was pervasive and out of control. Particularly in Men’s Central Jail, under the captainship of Dan Cruz–who, so far, is the highest ranking member of the department to be punished for his role in jail violence.

From the piece:

[D]espite the undeniable problems inside Men’s Central Jail under Cruz’s watch, sources with intimate knowledge of the department’s inner workings, say blame for the violence in the jails lies much higher up the food chain than Dan Cruz.

One of those knowledgeable sources is retired LASD Commander Bob Olmsted, who was Cruz’s commanding officer inside CJ (as Men’s Central Jail is known). In a series of interviews with the LA Justice Report, Olmsted acknowledged that while Dan Cruz is culpable for the recent violence at CJ, “the real problem is how departmental leadership allowed this jail situation to occur.

“The problems inside the jail were ignored by the Sheriff’s command staff. I went to [Custody Chief Dennis] Burns, [Undersheriff Paul] Tanaka. And I went to Lee Baca. I told them I needed help trying to corral this situation and I was ignored.”

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LA Times Tells Lee Baca to Man Up on Jail Violence

Spot-on editorial in the LA Times taking on LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and his supposed anger over the botched federal investigation into the LA County Jail system. Baca caught the feds smuggling a cellphone to an inmate informant and has been all over the news complaining about it. The Times rightly puts him in his place.

If Baca is truly interested in demonstrating the integrity of his department and protecting the reputation of his deputies, he should welcome the FBI probe, not obstruct it.

Here’s the deal that isn’t being widely reported. Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka absolutely knew that Men’s Central Jail was a violent mess–and that street gang-like deputy cliques played an integral role in that violence. They knew this because their on-the-ground captain of the jail John Clark told them so in 2006, as he attempted to fix the problem. He was never allowed to. Tanaka summarily removed Clark from his position before the reforms were even instituted. In the years to come, jail violence only got worse.

Baca and Tanaka did not fix this problem when they had the chance. And they need to be held responsible now.

Author Campaigns to Have Natalie Wood Death Investigation Re-Opened

As the 30th anniversary of Natalie Wood‘s tragic drowning death looms, Canyon News columnist Tommy Garrett has news of renewed efforts to get to the bottom of what happened off the coast of California on November 29, 1981.

Author Marti Rulli and the actress’ sister Lana are pushing to have the closed investigation re-opened. Over the weekend, their signed statements, along with those of four others, were sent to LA County Sheriff Lee Baca. Also included was a copy of an online petition asking for the death investigation to be re-opened. Writes Garrett:

The package includes [Captain] Dennis Davern‘s full witness account; a statement from Marilyn Wayne, who heard Natalie’s cries for help but was never interviewed by authorities; one from Roger Smith, the Coast Guard captain who recovered Natalie’s body and believes she lived hours through the night in the cold ocean; and one from a licensed, certified psychologist.

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LAT In 90 Seconds

lbaca.jpgSheriff’s Dispatch: Sheriff Lee Baca has an Op-Ed promoting programs that lessen gang violence by asking the question, ahem, “Why can’t we all just get along?” His accounts are pretty stirring: “Some of L.A.’s so-called gangs are really no more than loose-knit bands of blacks or Latinos roaming the streets looking for people of the other color to shoot.”

38907479-10161214.jpgCross-Pollination: The LAT links to the Chicago Tribune‘s R. Kelly trial blog. A risky move in a newsroom where byline and “click” counts threaten job security?

0_62_sinatra_nancy.jpgHow Many Sinatra Puns Does It Take To Write A Story? Um, just two, we guess. But still, it feels like two too many in this story about Nancy Sinatra‘s newfound activism.

LAT in 90 Seconds

libert.jpgWarning: Lines Might Be Longer At Target On Sunday: That’s when Libertine designer Johnson Hartig launches his mass-market line.

baca_leroy-d-3.jpgMost Idiotic Sales Pitch Ever: L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca is trying to convince lawmakers to let him send inmates home with ankle bracelets — a la Paris Hilton. He says, “It will help me keep people in jail who need to stay in jail, including domestic violence offenders.” Great idea, Lee. Lock those guys up at home with their battered wives. We’re sure no harm will come of that.

mrich.jpgBest Headline of the Day: Michael Richards finds inner solace in Cambodia

LAT in 90 Seconds

bacastu.jpgThe Man Behind Paris’s Short-Lived Freedom: OC denizen Stuart Pfeifer profiles Sheriff Lee Baca, in which Baca appears both as a level-headed humanitarian and an incompetent nut job.

burn.jpg Burning Up for Burnett: On the Lot blows, but uber-producer and devil-pact-maker Mark Burnett manages to elude any real criticism in this Scott Collins column.

sod.jpgBecause Working At Work Would Be A Waste Of Your Time: The LAT’s Online Sudoku game now features notations, a hints mode and — this part is particularly awesome — a conflict eliminator. We’re sure there are other good stories for us to be riffing on in the paper, but we won’t be getting to them — or anything else — today.