Metal flashlights OK as truncheons under his policy
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. -