NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS A ONLY BROAD STROKES PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS. A full set of reports on Friday’s meeting and more on the Jails Commission will appear Monday.
The newsiest, most startling moments during Friday’s jail commission meeting belonged to Captain Michael Bornman, who was the first of the “witnesses” to speak at the day-long hearing. Bornman, a 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, gave testimony about a period he spent working at Men’s Central Jail beginning in November of 2009.
In his testimony, which the commissioners seemed to find both riveting and disquieting, he described a string of telling incidents involving some CJ supervisors and their bosses.
Bornman’s was also the rawest testimony, given reluctantly and at a visible cost. This had much to do with the fact that, since Bornman is still actively working for the department, every revelation risked alienating colleagues and/or infuriating department executives who could conceivably do him professional harm if any of them took umbrage. The fact that Sheriff Baca reportedly okayed and even encouraged his appearance, only partially mitigated Borman’s risk. (Bornman heads up the Sheriff’s Education-Based Incarceration Bureau.)
After Bornman, the next LASD witness was Captain Pat Maxwell, the commanding officer for the Sheriff’s Department Norwalk station,and another longtime LASD veteran. His testimony was comparatively short, but it contained some startling—and assuredly controversial—elements.
Maxwell was an interesting choice since his testimony had nothing directly to do with the jails. (The operative word here is directly.) But more on Maxwell’s testimony on Monday.
Between Bornman and Maxwell, a former inmate named Gordon Grbavac testified. Grbavac is a businessman and father of four, who said he had no previous arrest record, prior to his stint in CJ, and who told a harrowing tale of getting his head slammed against a partitian by deputies, and other forms of reported abuse.
After lunch, the remaining witnesses mostly talked about solutions, not problems.
The five-person Commander Management Task Force—Commanders Joseph Fennell, Christy Guyovich, James Hellmold, Eric Parra and Paul Pietrantoni—testified in detail about what has been done in the past year to improve the jails.
And then Lt. Brian Moriguchi a 24 year veteran of the department, and also the president of the PPOA—the Professional Peace Officers Association— testified about the proposed plan that PPOA has recently put out regarding how to improve the jails. However, in the course of what was a largely technical exchange with the commission, Moriguchi managed to drop a couple of unexpected depth charges.
A custody assistant who works at the Men’s Central Jail testified for three minutes in the public comment period and then the ACLU’s Peter Eliasberg closed out the day.
Okay, that’s the short form.
Details Monday morning.