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Group Wants Deputies Monitored

October 04, 1992|MARY ANNE PEREZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A group of citizens is trying to form a civilian commission to oversee the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in the wake of a report that documented abuses by deputies.

The report, released in July by retired Superior Court Judge James G. Kolts, recommended a departmentwide effort aimed at stopping excessive force, a civilian oversight process for reviewing citizen complaints, and civilian auditing and monitoring of the department.

The Coalition for Sheriffs' Accountability, formed last year after a series of controversial shootings by deputies, is leading the effort to create a civilian complaint procedure. The coalition has asked the County Board of Supervisors to form a commission for these complaints to be heard, said Samuel Paz, a civil rights attorney.

"Everybody has somebody who watches over them except for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department," Paz said. "We believe that's why we have the number of abuses within the department that results in the high damage awards being paid out," he said in reference to several lawsuit judgments.

About 15 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican-American Political Assn. and the Mexican American Bar Assn., are involved. Organizers hope to sign up more groups and individuals before the proposal is put on the supervisors' agenda, Paz said.

Information: Coalition for Sheriffs' Accountability, 1616 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles 90026, or Robin Toma at (213) 977-9500.

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