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Berating and backing the badge

January 05, 2008

Re "Assault by deputies at jail alleged," Jan. 1

This article illustrates how absolute power corrupts absolutely. The deputies in this report have rightfully been suspended and are under investigation for their alleged collective abuse of power, but when will the public, its elected representatives and others do something more about the pattern of abuse exhibited by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department?

Examples of this department's abuses are long and documented in the pages of this newspaper. We read of gifts and payola, of exorbitant charges and profits on the part of the exclusive telephone service vendor, or the lack of adequate medical services and care for inmates. In addition, we have an elected sheriff who reigns over this department absent any term limits or meaningful oversight from the county supervisors. This disgraceful bureaucracy should be thoroughly investigated, not just several deputies.

Bruce Williams

Los Angeles

What a fine way to start off the new year by reading this article. Will The Times stay on top of this investigation so that there will be a front-page story in the California section when these deputies are exonerated? Last year, 180 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, 63 by gunfire. That is up from 147 in 2006. It's extremely infuriating when The Times reports on this alleged use of excessive force but not on such killings.

Ernie Gaxiola

Santa Clarita

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