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Report Is an Eye-Opener on Deputies' Misconduct

April 17, 2004|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

Another deputy was suspended for five days for hitting the brakes and hurling a handcuffed prisoner into a grille separating the front and back seats. The man suffered a broken nose. The deputy had failed to buckle the prisoner's seat belt.

Some others take equipment. One deputy was suspended for 10 days for selling three department life vests on EBay.

One stopped a doctor from Chile for riding a motorcycle on the sidewalk and without a helmet. A second deputy, who arrived to help with translation, bought the bike from the doctor for $300, which had cost the physician $1,500 a day before.

Prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to charge the deputy with extortion. Baca fired him anyway, but the deputy won on appeal and was ordered reinstated.

Yet to be resolved, according to the report, is the case of a deputy who admitted spreading taco sauce on an inmate's shirt in an attempt to fabricate photographic blood evidence that had been lost.

"When it comes to publicly shining a light on officer misconduct, Mike's office is a leader," said Jeff Eglash, an attorney and former LAPD inspector general.

"With such public reports, people can see firsthand the value of civilian oversight. This style of openness is one [that] other overseeing agencies should be following."

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