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Federal officials say 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies face array of criminal charges. The charges ...
result from an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of excessive force and other misconduct at the county's jails. (Dec. 9)
Tags:ap,AP News,Associated Press,Andre Birotte Jr.,fbi agent,lee baca,los angeles county sheriff,Max Huntsman,sheriff lee baca,Twin Towers Correctional Facility
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SHOTLIST:AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLYLos Angeles - December 9, 20131. Wide - Twin Towers Correctional facility2. SOUNDBITE (English) Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney"This indictment charges a sergeant and 4 deputies with civil right violations related to illegal arrests or detentions of people who were not inmates, but rather merely went to the jail to visit inmates."3. Mid - man sitting with his head in his hands next to Twin Towers Correctional Facility sign4. Wide - pan from bottom, up of tower5. SOUNDBITE (English) Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney"The federal investigation found that these incidents did not take place in a vacuum. In fact, the examples of this illegal conduct demonstrated that certain of these individuals and certain of that behavior had become institutionalized."6. Wide - pan top to bottom of tower7. SOUNDBITE (English) Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney"Some members of the sheriff's department considered themselves to be above the law."8. SOUNDBITE (English) Lee Baca, Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California: "We do not tolerate misconduct by any deputies. This department is grounded in its core values, namely to outperform our duties with respect for dignity for all people and the integrity to do what is right and to fight wrongs."9. Mid - Sheriff's Headquarters building sign10. SOUNDBITE (English) Lee Baca, Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California: "Please know that I respect the criminal justice system and no one is above the law." 11. Close - Baca walks away from podium-----STORYLINE:Federal officials say 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies saw themselves as being "above the law," engaging in corruption and civil rights abuses that included beating inmates and visitors, falsifying reports, and trying to block an FBI probe of the nation's largest jail system.The charges were announced at a news conference Monday after 16 of the 18 defendants were arrested earlier in the day. At least two are no longer working for the department. The charges are the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI into allegations of excessive force and other misconduct at the county's jails since at least 2011.Flanked by some of his top command staff, Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters Monday he was troubled by the charges and called it a sad day for this department. He said the department would continue to cooperate with the FBI and that deputies charged in the cases and still employed by the department would be relieved of duty and have their pay suspended.The Sheriff's Department oversees a jail system with more than 18,700 inmates and has a history of abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s. Among the recent allegations in four grand jury indictments unsealed Monday and a criminal complaint:_Deputies unlawfully detained and used force on visitors to Men's Central Jail, included detaining and handcuffing the Austrian consul general in one example, and in another, grabbing a man by the neck, forcing his head into a refrigerator, throwing him to the floor and pepper spraying his eyes._Deputies also falsified reports to make arrests seem lawful or in another case, struck, kicked and pepper sprayed an inmate and made false reports to have the inmate charged with and prosecuted for assaulting deputies._Deputies plotted to impede the FBI by moving an informant in the jails and attempting to intimidate a lead FBI agent outside her house.Baca said he would accept the outcome of the FBI investigation, but strongly denied criticisms that abuse was rampant in his department or that it was an institutional problem. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Sheriff's Department in 2012 claiming the sheriff and his top commanders had condoned violence against inmates. The organization released a report documenting more than 70 cases of misconduct by deputies.The Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, in its 2012 report, said deputies used force against inmates even "when there was no threat at all," and referred to "a culture of aggression among some deputies in the jails."Last month the county announced the appointment of veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor Max Huntsman to head a new office of inspector general that will oversee the Sheriff's Department. (****END****)