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Tag: los angeles county

Ex-L.A. County Undersheriff Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Obstructing FBI

Former L.A. County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

Former L.A. County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Paul Tanaka, a former Los Angeles County undersheriff, was sentenced to five years in prison Monday after he was convicted in April of conspiracy and obstructing an FBI investigation into deputy jail abuse.

Prosecutors alleged Tanaka, 57, gave deputies permission to use violence against inmates and protected them from recourse, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tanaka also was accused of directing his underlings to intimidate the FBI during the investigation and conceal the whereabouts of an inmate working as a federal agent.

“Not only did he fail to identify and address problems in the jails, he exacerbated them,” the judge said of Tanaka.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI

los angeles sheriffBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The former Los Angeles County sheriff who lied about helping hide an inmate-turned-FBI informant from his federal handlers pleaded guilty to making a false statement, his attorney said Wednesday.

ABC7 reports that former Sheriff Lee Baca was trying to hinder a federal investigation into civil rights abuses at county jails.

In April 2013, Baca also lied to the bureau about sheriff’s officials threatening to arrest an FBI agent at her in 2011.

As part of a plea agreement, Baca admitted he knowingly made a false statement about sheriff’s officials confronting an FBI agent at her home.

“Today’s charge and plea agreement demonstrate that illegal behavior within the Sheriff’s Department went to the very top of the organization,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “More importantly, this case illustrates that leaders who foster and then try to hide a corrupt culture will be held accountable.”

The federal investigation involved LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is accused of overseeing a secret plot to hide an inmate who became an FBI informant so that investigators couldn’t find him.

Los Angeles County Reaches Civil Rights Agreement with Justice Department

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Less than two years after prosecutors discovered a pattern of racial discrimination, the nation’s largest sheriff’s department reached a sweeping agreement Tuesday with the Justice Department to restore civil rights.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the deal 4-1 after patterns of abuse were found, including unlawful stops and seizures and excessive force, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

In addition, the Justice Department claims that Los Angeles sheriff’ deputies harassed and intimidated minorities in public housing.

The agreement means the sheriff’s department admitted no wrongdoing but will be overseen by three outside experts.

 

Rumor Mill Working Overtime as Controversy Bubbles Between FBI and LA Sheriff’s Dept.

 Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The rumor mill has been working over time involving the controversy between FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Lee Baca is fuming that the FBI didn’t tell him about its investigation into inmate abuse, or the fact that the FBI, in an undercover sting, paid a sheriff’s deputy about $1,500 to sneak a cellphone into an inmate who happened to be an FBI informant. When  Baca learned of it all, he was none too happy.

The sheriff announced an investigation into the whole matter and into the sheriff’s deputy who snuck the phone in the jail. The deputy has since resigned, the LA Times reported. It is a crime to sneak a phone into the jail.

Things have been heating up.

A source tells ticklethewire.com that sheriff’s deputies on Monday night visited the home of the FBI case agent in the matter and told her they planned to arrest her. They did not on Monday. On Wednesday, after ticklethewire.com reported the incident, Sheriff Baca told the Los Angeles Times of the possibility of charging the agent:  “No, I don’t think so. It’s not worthy of pursuing, in view of the greater good.” He said the agent directed the deputies’ questions to her supervisor,and Baca dismissed suggestions the visit by deputies was intended to intimidate the agent.”

At the same time, word began circulating this week that the case agent’s supervisor,  Victor Cockrell, an FBI supervisor in the Los Angeles civil rights division, which was handling the case, suddenly decided to retire. Some suggested there might be a connection between the retirement and the case.

But Cockrell told ticklethewire.com on Wednesday that his decision to retire has nothing whatsoever to do with the case.

“It was time to retire,” he said. “I have served my country and it’s time to do something else.”

He declined to comment on the case, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on any case.

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI Los Angeles office, told ticklethewire.com on Wednesday via email: “Mr. Cockrell’s comment speaks for itself and we wish him the very best.”

Regarding the overall investigation, she told the Times: “With regard to the investigation, FBI agents at all times were acting within the course and scope of their duties and were in compliance with FBI policy and practices.”

Whatever the case, people in law enforcement in Los Angeles have been talking about the controversy, which is sure to percolate  for a while.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

California Pot Initiative (Proposition 19) Goes to Pot

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The California initiative to legalize marijuana — a law that would have complicated enforcement for federal agents — went down in defeat on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Proposition 19, which would have allowed pot to be sold for recreational use, failed to get the support of the state’s moderate voters.

The measure had strong support from young voters, but failed to win over voters in the very populous Los Angeles County, the Times reported.

Last month, Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. vowed to “vigorously enforce” federal marijuana laws even if Californians approved Prop 19.

Holder’s comments were contained in a letter to ex-federal drug enforcement chiefs.

“We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote in the letter.