The following statement is from Dignity and Power Now and the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in L.A. Jails on the judge’s decision to sentence former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to three years in state prison after being found guilty on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy, as well as a lying charge he had already admitted to in the deal with prosecutors.
“No amount of prison time for Baca will right all of the wrongs that many have suffered at the hands of the sheriff’s department under his leadership.
While Baca’s sentence leaves those who have experienced abuse at the hands of the sheriff’s department feeling vindicated there is still a deep feeling of dissatisfaction.
Sheriff Baca not only lied to the FBI, but he lied to the community he was elected by when claiming that the brutality their loved ones experienced was justiﬁed and that the oversight that existed at the time was the gold standard of transparency.
Make no mistake–Baca’s sentence will not stop the corruption and misconduct still taking place within the sheriff’s department.
Three years in prison cannot make up for almost two decades of corruption and brutality under Baca’s leadership and the fact that the current sheriff cannot even provide a list of problematic deputies to the courts without being challenged by the sheriffs’ union are the clearest signs that there is still much work to be done.
In order to avoid repeating having another Baca situation, the Civilian Oversight Commission must have subpoena power to inform the community, hold deputies accountable and hopefully keep violence by deputies at bay.
True justice and movement forward would be an effective Civilian Oversight Commission with the power to subpoena the sheriff’s department.
Dignity and Power Now, the organization largely responsible for the creation of the Civilian Oversight Commission and for Baca’s conviction through our Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in L.A. Jails, stands with incarcerated people and their loved ones as we continue to urge the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for subpoena power.
Baca may be headed to prison but the work on behalf of incarcerated people in L.A. County jails and their loved ones continues.”