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Excessive Force

August 14, 2013 | By Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard
A retired Los Angeles County sheriff's commander who played a role in exposing abuses inside the agency's jails announced Wednesday that he is going to challenge Sheriff Lee Baca in next year's election. Bob Olmsted promised to clean up a department that he says has been beset by scandal because of mismanagement and cronyism by Baca. Baca, who has been sheriff for about 15 years, enters his relection campaign amid several scandals. Over the weekend, Supervisor Gloria Molina published a letter in The Times blasting Baca and expressing disappointment that “not one challenger has stepped forward to rescue” the Sheriff's Department.
August 10, 2013 | By Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi
He was already one of the central figures in Los Angeles County's jail scandal when he dropped a bombshell allegation. Weeks after sheriff's officials discovered a cellphone he had smuggled to an inmate who was helping federal authorities investigate alleged deputy abuse, Deputy Gilbert Michel told a sheriff's investigator he knew of four instances of excessive force against inmates. In two of those cases, he implicated himself as an aggressor. Two years later, district attorney's records show that authorities have concluded there is no evidence to corroborate Michel's claims of inmate abuse, and prosecutors have decided against filing charges against the deputies he accused.
July 25, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- The mother of a mentally disturbed man who died after being restrained by Palm Desert police won reinstatement Thursday of her federal lawsuit for excessive, deadly force. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said evidence suggested that U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II, who presided over a trial on the suit, improperly relied on his personal experience as a former police officer when he ruled for Riverside County after a jury failed to reach a verdict.
July 19, 2013 | By Jack Leonard
A federal jury awarded more than $200,000 on Friday to a man who accused Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies of illegally detaining him and using excessive force during a 2009 encounter that left him with a fractured rib, the man's lawyer said. James Spinks, then 60, was injured when a deputy repeatedly kneed him in the side after knocking him to the platform floor at the Rosa Parks/Willowbrook train station, attorney Thomas E. Beck said. Witnesses loudly complained that deputies were beating an "old man," and one captured the encounter on a cellphone camera, Beck said.
July 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The latest insight into the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is as dispiriting as it is familiar. For years - decades, even, for those who remember the Kolts Commission in the early 1990s - one outside group after another has concluded that lax discipline, poor supervision and inattentive management have allowed problems within the department to fester, sometimes erupting in violations of civil rights. And here we are again. After a two-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice has concluded that deputies assigned to the Antelope Valley Sheriff's Station repeatedly violated the civil rights of African Americans and Latinos, especially those in federally subsidized housing.
June 3, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Patrick J. McDonnell
WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials have “serious concerns” about reports of excessive force by Turkish police against protesters, the White House said Monday, as a country lauded as a model for democracy in the Muslim world faces its most violent street protests in decades. “The United States supports full freedom of expression and assembly, including the right to peaceful protest,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “We believe that the vast majority of the protesters have been peaceful, law-abiding, ordinary citizens exercising their rights.” Carney's comments came as thousands of protesters filled Taksim Square in central Istanbul for a fourth consecutive day Monday.
May 14, 2013 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - Two Anaheim police officers said they pulled over a van at 2 a.m. after noticing it weaving in its own lane. The officers suspected the driver had illegal drugs. When the driver failed to obey police commands, a struggle ensued. One officer hit the driver on the arm with his flashlight and punched him in the face and head. The other officer hit the driver on the back of his head with a flashlight. When the driver began to accelerate with an officer inside the van, that officer shot the driver in the head, killing him. A divided federal appeals court decided Monday that the officers did not use excessive force in the 2009 incident.
May 13, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
Anaheim police did not use excessive force  during a struggle in which a man suspecting of possessing drugs was shot in the head, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday. A panel of the U.S. 9 th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 to uphold the dismissal of a civil-rights lawsuit by the family of Adolf Anthony Sanchez Gonzalez, who was killed by an Anaheim police officer in 2009. Two Anaheim police officers said they had a near-collision with Gonzalez at 2 a.m. while on another call.  The officers ran Gonzalez's license plate number, learned his van had been involved in a previous narcotics stop and decided to follow him “to see if any law enforcement action was necessary,” the court said.
May 2, 2013 | By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
BAGHDAD - Iraqi security used disproportionate force, including shooting unarmed civilians, during a raid on an encampment of Sunni Arab protesters last week that left 45 people dead, according to two government investigations and foreign diplomats. The predawn raid in the city of Hawija in Kirkuk province April 23 involved security forces demanding that protesters hand over demonstrators suspected of killing an Iraqi soldier four days earlier, officials said. Shooting erupted during the raid, enraging Sunnis and leading to violence in other parts of the country.
March 28, 2013 | By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times
A jury has awarded $1.1 million to a Palmdale teenager who, while holding a toy gun, was shot in the back by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. Deputy Scott Sorrow used excessive force when he shot William Fetters on May 10, 2009, a jury found Wednesday. Fetters was 15 at the time of the shooting. "He's had a lot of emotional distress being the victim of a wrongful shooting," said Fetters' attorney, Bradley Gage. "He's hopeful that the verdict will send a message to the Sheriff's Department that it needs to protect the community better.
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