Originally published on December 17, 2014, at NationofChange.org
Seven Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies have been sentenced to federal prison for obstructing an FBI investigation into their department. Upon discovering an inmate working as an FBI informant, the deputies illegally concealed the prisoner, threatened an FBI agent, and attempted to influence witnesses. Although the deputies repeatedly asserted they had been following the orders of former Sheriff Lee Baca and then-Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, no charges have been filed against Baca or Tanaka.
As a sheriff’s commander under Baca, Bob Olmsted attempted 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. In 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Sheriff’s Department accusing Baca of covering up and condoning violence against prisoners. In 2011, the ACLU released a report documenting over 70 instances of excessive force, misconduct, and sexual assault committed by deputies.
“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.