Illegal behavior has become institutionalized in the LA County Sheriff's Department, where some deputies "consider themselves to be above the law." That's according to US Attorney André Birotte, Jr. Today, he unsealed indictments alleging unjustified beatings of both jail inmates and visitors and conspiracies to cover up those actions. Eighteen deputies have been indicted and 16 are under arrest. Late this afternoon, Sheriff Lee Baca held a news conference to respond to the charges. Baca denied that abuse has become "institutionalized" but said he sadly accepted the US Attorney's investigation "whatever the findings are."
(Both Sheriff Baca and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka declined our invitation to participate in this discussion.)