Sheriff’s Dept. hired dozens with sketchy backgrounds

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The L.A. Sheriff’s Department hired dozens of deputies with checkered pasts when it took over patrols of parks and government buildings from a now defunct county police force. An L.A. Times investigation finds that some of the hires had committed serious misconduct on duty, including accidentally firing their weapons and soliciting prostitutes. Nearly 100 had documented instances of dishonesty, but were hired anyway. Through a spokesman, Sheriff Lee Baca says he was not aware that people with questionable backgrounds were hired…Opening statements are scheduled this morning in the trial of two former Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man two years ago. It’s the first time in Orange County history that a uniformed police officer is being tried for murder. The fatal beating of 37 year-old Kelly Thomas made national headlines, spurred the recall of three city council members and forced Fullerton’s police chief to resign. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is personally leading the prosecution of the officers…roadworkA proposed ballot measure would more than double California’s vehicle license fee to fix the state’s roads, build new bridges and fund mass transit projects. The license fee was slashed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shortly after winning office a decade ago. The push to hike the fee is being led by Will Kempton, who headed Caltrans between 2004 and 2009. Kempton says the money is badly needed to fix the state’s crumbling roads. And he says it would actually save drivers’ money they now spend on blown tires and other damage caused by rutted streets and worn highways…An autopsy is scheduled today for an Orange County jail inmate who may have eaten household cleanser to kill himself, rather than go on trial for murdering six people. Itzcoatl Ocampo was found shaking and vomiting in his cell last week and died soon after. The coroner’s office has hired an independent firm to carry out the examination. Ocampo was suspected of killing a friend and the friend’s mother as well as four homeless men in late 2011 and early 2012…paul walkerAnd finally, authorities say speed was a factor in the fiery accident that killed actor Paul Walker and another man in Valencia. Autopsies are scheduled today for the 40-year-old Walker and the apparent driver, 38-year-old Roger Rodas. A memorial for the two men has been erected by friends and fans at the site of the crash. Walker was a Glendale native. He was filming the eighth installment of “The Fast and the Furious” series at the time of his death.