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Supervisors inexplicably fail to act on Baca, Noguez

Surely the panel that oversees L.A. County could do more to to pressure the sheriff and assessor to resign.

May 20, 2012|Steve Lopez

In one three-year span, Baca accepted more gifts than all the state's 57 other sheriffs combined. Baca launched a criminal investigation in Beverly Hills on behalf of another donor. Department participation in a reality TV show backfired when prosecutors dropped car-theft charges against someone because the tape revealed the deputy never read the suspect his rights. Actor Mel Gibson got a police escort back home from the Malibu/Lost Hills station after an arrest, but a troubled 24-year-old woman was allowed to leave on foot after midnight without transportation and she ended up dead in a canyon.

Space considerations force me to stop for now.

Cooley's office told me he didn't call for Baca to resign because, unlike Noguez, the sheriff is not the target of a criminal investigation. And Knabe told me he hasn't called for Baca to step aside because he thinks the sheriff "seems to be paying a lot more attention to business" of late.

Excuse me, but when he was elected, Baca pledged to put an end to brutality in the department. That was in 1998. The supervisors long ago should have urged Baca to resign and kept up the pressure until he relented, and they should be doing the same with Noguez. Just because they don't have the power to fire doesn't mean they have to be so pathetically powerless.

steve.lopez@latimes.com

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