Jury slams Baca, deputies for slamming jailed molester

Oct 18th, 2013 | By | Category: Courts, Ethics, Paco's Podium, Sex Offenders, Spotlight, Use of Force
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Metal flashlights OK as truncheons under his policy

LA Sheriff Lee Baca may have to write a personal check for 100k to a a convicted child molester.

If you think he looks PO’d above, imagine LA Sheriff Lee Baca’s reaction when a jury said he must pay $100k out-of-pocket  to a convicted child molester.

L.A. Sheriff Baca held liable for $100,000 in inmate abuse case

By Abby Sewell and Robert Faturechi | Los Angeles Times

A federal jury has found Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca personally liable in a case involving abuse of an inmate in the Men’s Central Jail, meaning the sheriff could be required to pay $100,000 out of pocket.

It is the first time a jury has held Baca personally at fault in a deputy use-of-force case. Sheriff’s officials called the verdict a “huge mistake” and said they would appeal.

Plaintiff Tyler Willis filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in October 2010 against L.A. County and several deputies and sheriff’s officials, alleging that deputies severely beat him in 2009 while he was a 23-year-old inmate awaiting trial on charges of lewd acts with a child. He was later convicted.

Willis alleged that he was punched and kicked repeatedly, shot with a Taser multiple times and struck “numerous times” in the ankle with a heavy metal flashlight, causing fractures and head injuries…

Willis’ attorneys argued that Baca had failed to heed warnings that letting deputies use heavy flashlights to control inmates could cause serious injuries. They also cited findings by a citizens commission convened to study violence in the county jails, which found that Baca had failed to control use of force in the facilities…(Full text at Los Angeles Times)

Lee Baca is an idiot. Most agencies have prohibited officers from using flashlights as a weapon for decades. I recall there was at least one HUGE lawsuit over cops killing a guy with one blow from a D Cell Kel light–I think it was in Detroit. But I digress.

I hate to see the 290 get anything but Baca deserves some pain for OK’ing such a stupid policy. -

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4 Comments to “Jury slams Baca, deputies for slamming jailed molester”

  1. Gadfly says:

    Paco,

    During the last baton training I attended in 2009 before retirement, flashlights were still an acceptable weapon in close-combat for use-of-force tactics because officers at night are already holding them when confronting subjects in the dark. The training specifically (called the short billy club) is for the weak-side (non-gun) hand and teaches approved areas where strikes are permitted, when warranted. The training has been approved by POST, challenged in the courts, and has been upheld as lawful when staying within the guidelines and standards of the use-of-force continuum. A PR-24, which I also trained with and carried, was just as capable of shattering an elbow, knee, or ankle because of the momentum it gains using the side-handle to swing it.

    I suspect the problem in LASD’s case was not the weapon, but the overzealous use of force, general lack of supervision in keeping within use-of-force guidelines, and a history of heavy-handedness by LASD jailers. That would make Sheriff Baca very liable indeed.

    • pacovilla says:

      I understand the distinction and appreciate the clarification. In a corrections environment, as is evident from this suit, the only reason one would get away with using a flashlight is as a last resort, to fend off attack–As a tool of on the pain compliance continuum it is a no no.

  2. Howie Katz says:

    Sheriff to the stars Lee ‘Pepe LePew’ Baca has long been a disgrace to the law enforcement profession. It’s about time he got his due, even though the $100,00 judgement is a mere slap on the wrist.

  3. Bob Walsh says:

    Even child molesters have rights (unfortunately) and somehow whacking some guy in the ankle with a flashlight is worse than whacking him in the ankle with a PR-24.