Originally published on May 16, 2015, at NationofChange.org
A former Los Angeles undersheriff and sheriff’s captain surrendered to authorities on Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted them on obstruction and conspiracy charges. Accused of corruptly influencing and impeding an FBI investigation into abuse and bribery within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and retired Captain William “Tom” Carey allegedly ordered deputies to secretly transfer an FBI informant under false names and engage in witness tampering. Former Capt. Carey has also been accused of providing false testimony in two separate trials.
In September 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report documenting over 70 instances of excessive force, misconduct, and sexual assault committed by deputies. A few months later, the ACLU sued the Sheriff’s Department accusing then-Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Tanaka of covering up and condoning violence against prisoners. After attempting several times to notify Baca and his staff about the abuses, corruption, and misconduct committed by deputies at Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) in Downtown Los Angeles, former sheriff’s commander Bob Olmsted contacted the FBI.
“I knew I had to act, and as a result, I notified the FBI of the department’s culture and acceptance of excessive force, inmate abuse, sheriff’s gangs, and corruption,” admitted retired Cmdr. Olmsted.
According to the indictment, a former deputy, an ACLU employee, numerous inmates, and a chaplain all reported witnessing deputies using excessive force against inmates. In May 2010, a former LASD deputy trainee reported to Carey that the trainee, his training officer, and several other deputies participated in a premeditated beating of an inmate with mental disabilities.