Federal officials have their hands full with a vast, ongoing investigation into charges of civil rights violations and corruption against sheriff’s deputies at two downtown Los Angeles jails.
Recent developments such as the indictment of two high-ranking officials in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department show that investigators are going after bigger fish in trying to correct problems such as inmate abuse, deputy misconduct, witness tampering and obstruction of justice that have plagued the jails for years.
In one example of how strange things can get in L.A., deputies confiscated a contraband cell phone from an inmate at one of the jails and determined that the inmate was an informant for the FBI. Where did the inmate get the phone? From a corrupt deputy who admitted to accepting bribes.
Hide the stool pigeon
Did you follow that? Can this situation possibly get more pathetic and weird? Sure it can.
When word spread of an informer in their midst, high-ranking sheriff’s department fools tried to hide the stool pigeon where they thought no one could find him and he would be unable to testify.
First they cooked the books to make it look like the inmate was released. Then they signed him back in under a different name and isolated him in a remote cell. They then told him that the feds had abandoned him!
If you think all this sounds like a plan concocted by a corrupt cop, you would be right.
An attempt at intimidation
You want more? The big-shot deputies authorized two sergeants to pay a visit to the FBI’s lead investigator in the case, a woman and an accomplished professional crime fighter. The bozos tried to intimidate her by threatening to arrest her, then went to her supervisor and repeated the threats.
It’s good that the lengthy investigation is now climbing the ladder into rarified territory. Heads need to roll for credibility and respect to be restored regarding the L.A. sheriff’s department. If that means taking down the top dogs, then so be it.
And when the feds finish the job, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen, then they can turn their attention to another once-proud organization that has fallen on hard times: The U.S. Secret Service.