LASD shares pol­icy up­dates

County su­per­vi­sors get de­tails on use-of-force train­ing com­pli­ance

The Signal - - FRONT PAGE - By Jim Holt Sig­nal Se­nior Staff Writer

Three years after Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff Jim McDon­nell re­sponded to the Rosas Set­tle­ment Agree­ment ad­dress­ing in­mate abuse and vowed to see county jails be­come a safer place for in­mates, county su­per­vi­sors learned Tues­day how deputies are com­ply­ing with the agree­ment.

The Board of Su­per­vi­sors watched a slide pre­sen­ta­tion, “De­part­ment Com­pli­ance with the Rosas Im­ple­men­ta­tion,” which called for im­proved train­ing for deputies on use of force and for de­vel­op­ing a griev­ance sys­tem for in­mates.

“What we’re see­ing in the jails is a ser­vice at­mos­phere in­stead of dis­ci­plinary at­mos­phere,” As­sis­tant Sher­iff Kelly Har­ring­ton told the board dur­ing the meet­ing, which was livestreamed on­line at­

The Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment im­ple­mented 101 of 104 of the pro­vi­sions spelled out in the Rosas Agree­ment, su­per­vi­sors were told.

Be­tween April 2017 and March 2018, the LASD opened no crim­i­nal

in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged vi­o­la­tions of the de­part­ment’s use-of-force pol­icy or mis­con­duct, of­fi­cials said Tues­day.

“There were no re­ports of mul­ti­ple of­fi­cers as­sault­ing in­mates,” Har­ring­ton said.

In demon­strat­ing how LASD deputies have un­der­gone im­proved train­ing about the use of force, Har­ring­ton shared a few Cus­tody Force Train­ing sta­tis­tics.

Use of Force

Nearly 3,700 LASD per­son­nel were ap­proved by out­side mon­i­tors in Novem­ber 2016 to at­tend about 170 classes on the de­part­ment’s use-of-force pol­icy. The same mon­i­tor­ing group ap­proved 646 LASD per­son­nel to at­tend 61 re­fresher classes on the same sub­ject, a year later.

Har­ring­ton said the LASD now fol­lows up on com­plaints filed by in­mates—whether the com­plaints are small, such as hav­ing no soap in the shower, or more se­ri­ous com­plaints of abuse.

Since the LASD im­ple­mented pro­vi­sions of the Rosas Agree­ment, in­mate com­plaints now fall into one of four cat­e­gories :

„No in­jury or com­plaint of pain „Non-in­jury use of force „Iden­ti­fi­able in­jury „In­jury re­quir­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the LASD’s In­ter­nal Af­fairs Bureau

Rosas Agree­ment

Vi­o­lence in­side county jails and con­cerns over use of force by deputies came to a head in 2012 when the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union filed a class ac­tion law­suit against for­mer Sher­iff Lee Baca.

The law­suit al­leged Baca and high-rank­ing of­fi­cials con­doned a pat­tern of abuse and vi­o­lence by deputies in county jails, on in­mates. It was filed on be­half of Alex Rosas and Jonathan Good­win who, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, “were sav­agely beaten and threat­ened with vi­o­lence by deputies of the Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment.”

When the fed­eral district court handed down its Rosas Set­tle­ment Agree­ment in April 2015, McDon­nell said: “To­day’s de­ci­sion en­ables us to con­tinue to move for­ward, in part­ner­ship with stake­hold­ers and county lead­ers, with on­go­ing ef­forts to im­prove train­ing, ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nisms, in­mate griev­ance sys­tems and needed staffing in our jails.”

Tues­day’s slideshow up­dated su­per­vi­sors on how the Rosas Set­tle­ment has since been im­ple­mented.

At one point, 5th District Su­per­vi­sor Kathryn Barger asked Har­ring­ton if there was a limit to how many griev­ances an in­mate could file.

Har­ring­ton, not­ing that some in­mates file com­plaints daily, said the de­part­ment looked at the “best prac­tices of other jails” in set­ting lim­its.

“Some jails have lim­its on the num­ber of griev­ances an in­mate can file,” he said, not­ing there is no lim­i­ta­tion on griev­ances in­volv­ing use of force.


Su­per­vi­sor Jan­ice Hahn asked Har­ring­ton about cases not be­ing re­ported.

“There are so many cam­eras, so much mon­i­tor­ing, by video and by the OIG (Of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral) and by other folks con­stantly in the jails— we’re not just tak­ing the word of the LASD,” Har­ring­ton said.

LASD Com­man­der Joseph Dempsey said each in­mate com­plaint—ex­cept use-of­force com­plaints—is for­warded to the ap­pro­pri­ate agency: Food com­plaints are sent to Food Ser­vices, med­i­cal com­plaints to Health Ser­vices, and so on.

“We haven’t had suf­fi­cient staff for sev­eral years,” Hahn said, ques­tion­ing whether the county had suf­fi­cient staff to han­dle the com­plaints.

“For the jail en­vi­ron­ment, I feel com­fort­able with our staffing lev­els to in­ves­ti­gate the use of force com­plaints,” Har­ring­ton said.

Crim­i­nal cases

Los An­ge­les County, and the Santa Clarita Val­ley, are still wit­ness­ing fall­out of jail vi­o­lence widely re­ported in 2014.

On March 5, pros­e­cu­tors dis­missed a case of al­leged cru­elty filed against for­mer LASD Sgt.

David J. Moser, 53, who was one of three for­mer sworn of­fi­cers charged on May 16, 2016, with cru­elty to a pris­oner at the Pitchess De­ten­tion Cen­ter.

The two other de­fen­dants charged with cru­elty in the same in­ci­dent—James Hawkins, 35, and 63-year-old Rex Tay­lor, now re­tired—are sched­uled to ap­pear in court at the Santa Clarita Court­house next month for a readi­ness hear­ing with re­spect to a po­ten­tial trial date.

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