In an attempt to find out more information about the investigation, one lieutenant and the two sergeants sought a court order to compel the FBI to provide documents, prosecutors said. When a state judge denied the proposed order, the two sergeants allegedly attempted to intimidate one of the lead FBI agents outside her house and falsely told her they were going to seek a warrant for her arrest, the indictment said.
Baca has acknowledged mistakes to a county commission reviewing reports of brutality, but he has also defended his department and distanced himself personally from the allegations.
He said he’s made improvements including creating a database to track inmate complaints. Baca has also hired a new head of custody and rearranged his command staff.
Retired sheriff’s Cmdr. Bob Olmsted, who is challenging Baca for the voter-elected position of sheriff in 2014, said in a statement Monday that the arrests “underscore the high level of corruption that has plagued the Sheriff’s Department.”
He said as a commander he tried “several times” to notify the sheriff and his command staff about “ongoing abuses and misconduct” in Men’s Central Jail, but his “concerns fell on deaf ears.”
“I knew I had to act, and as a result, I notified the FBI of the department’s culture and acceptance of excessive force, inmate abuse, sheriff’s gangs, and corruption,” Olmsted said.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Sheriff’s Department in 2012 claiming the sheriff and his top commanders had condoned violence against inmates. The organization released a report documenting more than 70 cases of misconduct by deputies.
Last month the county announced the appointment of veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor Max Huntsman to head a new office of inspector general that will oversee the Sheriff’s Department.
The county’s jails held more than 18,700 inmates as of Monday.