CHALLENGERS FOR SHERIFF BACA’S JOB SPEAK OUT
After federal indictments were unsealed Monday morning triggering the arrest of 18 members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, there was initially no comment from former LASD undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is now running for sheriff against Lee Baca.
But then on Wednesday, Tanaka released a statement that, while it didn’t address the indictments directly, seemed to be a gesture that direction. The LA Times’ Seema Mehta has a story on the matter. Here’s a clip:
Paul Tanaka, the former undersheriff who is challenging his old boss Sheriff Lee Baca in next year’s election, made his first public statement Wednesday since news broke that the federal government had arrested 18 current and former members of the Sheriff’s Department in a jail abuse and corruption scandal.
“The residents of Los Angeles County deserve better, as do the hard-working men and women of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. It’s time for the sheriff to take responsibility for the decisions he has made as the top public safety official in the county,” Tanaka said in a written statement.
Former LASD commander Bob Olmsted, the strongest dark horse challenger in the sheriff’s race, had already released a statement about the indictments on Monday, along with making several media appearances, where he pointed to the involvement of Sheriff Baca and Paul Tanaka in the alleged hiding of FBI informant, Anthony Brown, which resulted in seven of Monday’s indictments.
For instance, in his appearance on Which Way LA? with Warren Olney, Olmsted noted that when Tanaka was interviewed by the LA Times, and by ABC-7, earlier in the year, the former undersheriff admitted his involvement with the operation to hide informant Brown, claiming that Baca ordered him to do so.
“He said it was Lee Baca’s idea and I was just following orders,” said Olmsted. “[The hiding of Anthony Brown] could not have occurred without being condoned all the way to the top.”
Then on Wednesday, in response to Tanaka’s statement, Olmsted put out a second press release, again taking both Tanaka and Baca to task in relationship to the indictments. It reads in part:
“Rather than telling the whole truth about who permitted sheriffs’ officials to use excessive force, abuse inmates, obstruct justice, or intimidate an FBI agent, on Monday, Sheriff Lee Baca neglected to detail how all of this happened or what the chain of events transpired under his watch. Even worse, he didn’t take responsibility or hold himself fully liable for these failures.
Either Sheriff Baca was asleep at the wheel, or he purposely separated himself from the daily operations of his department, or he’s hiding his involvement in this train-wreck.
This week, retired LASD lieutenant and candidate for sheriff, Pat Gomez, also released a statement that was critical of Baca and Tanaka.
RIDLEY-THOMAS CALLS FOR POSSIBLE CHANGE IN STATE CHARTER TO APPOINT, NOT ELECT LA COUNTY SHERIFF
On Tuesday, on Which Way LA? Warren Olney did a second show relating to the indictments, this time asking guests if Sheriff Baca’s bid to be reelected for a fifth term in office is imperiled by recent events.
With Olney on the show were LA County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, attorney Mark Geragos, who is a strong Baca Supporter, Ralph Sonenshein, head of the Pat Brown institute at Cal State LA, and former County Counsel and Police Commission president, Andrea Ordin.
The notable moment on Tuesday’s show came when Ridley-Thomas again called for stronger oversight of the sheriff’s department and said that perhaps it’s time to change state law so that sheriffs, like chiefs of police, are appointed, not elected.
Be sure to listen to the show’s podcast here.
LASD badge and patch photo by Jaime Lopez
Is it really “election watch” or is it “election manipulation”? The Times, and by extension this blog, is hitting Baca and his department hard in an obvious attempt to influence the election. Should he call it a day and pull out of the race? That’s for him to decide. In the mean time, we’ll have to endure another 6 months of rehashed stories and gnashing of journalists’ teeth.
The Sheriff has no shame. Does he really believe department members are stupid enough to take him serious when he puts out an email about not being above the law? He and Tanaka should man up and go to the FBI to take responsibility for the mess they created. We all know those cowards would never do that as they both have stood behind their rank to punish those who have spoken negatively about their misdeeds. What kind of communist organization are we working for? It is an embarrassing shame that grown men and women have to fear punishment for speaking out against the wrongdoing of our departments executives. We would not have to hide behind fictitious screen names to speak our minds if there was not a high level of fear of punishment for doing so. Is it better to be feared or respected?
Machiavelli said, “It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.”
# 2 , I SUPPORT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING 100+ %. I’VE COMMENTED REGARDING MY PERCEPTIONS IN OTHER AREAS OF THIS SITE. AGREE OR NOT, WLA HAS EXPOSED THE MOST CORROSIVE L.E. COMMAND STAFF, SAVE POSSIBLY NEW ORLEANS, IN MY MEMORY. EGO WILL NEVER ALLOW EITHER OF THESE MAN UP. THEY ARE INCAPABLE. THE RUELU SAD THING IS THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE REPUTATIONS ODF THE HONORABLE MEN AND WOMEN WHO STILL SERVE, THOSE WHO DON’T SURVIVE, SUCCUMBED TO PERSONAL AGENDA. UNFORTUNATELY SOME OTHERWISE GOOD PEOPLES’ CAREERS WERE DERAILED BY SELFISH, MEGALOMANIACS. PRAY THEY GET WHAT’S COMING AND A PHOENIX WILL SURFACE TO RESTORE THE REPUTATION OF A ONCE GREAT DEPARTMENT.
There are a lot of people out on their butts because of these fine gentlemen… I promise you this will be played in open court. Whitmore, get your dancing shoes on brother.
This is interesting…
So the Board Supervisor (who was endorsed by ALADS, PPOA, etc) decides that the Sheriff’s Office has too much power, therefore needs to be appointed instead of elected.
Appointed by who? the Board of Supervisors? So that same guy complaining that the Elected position has too much power now wants to yield even more power by appointing the Sheriff?
Give me a break. And also, could someone please give him a civics and gov’t history lesson?
I am confused by something. I haven’t been around the mainstream of things for a while. I listen to Bob Olmsted and his pride in being a whistle blower who has impeccable leadership qualities. He retired as a commander right? Yet he speaks as though being a whistle blower is a qualification for leadership. To me it isn’t. A commander has authority to solve problems not just uncover them and complain up the chain of command. One of the finest men I ever knew with was Commander Sid Heal. He was hard working and brilliant. He was a highly decorated soldier and a outstanding law enforcement officer with LASD. I don’t believe anyone has a single bad thing to say about him. I never saw him whine up the chain that there are problems that need to be fixed. He had authority as a COMMANDER and he fixed what needed fixing. In some police organizations across the USA a commander would be called a deputy chief. In the private business a commander would be a vice president or higher. Lots of authority. Bob Olmsted seems like an ok guy. I think his running for sheriff is helping him to purge the hard feelings he has for how his career ended and that is good for him emotionally. He deserves to do that and I wont judge him for it. I don’t know who I will vote for, but I want someone who can use their authority to not just discover a problem but someone who can fix the problem. Anyone can complain but a leader uses their authority to improve the situation. I worry that as sheriff, Mr. Olmsted will only complain why things can’t be done, like he did when he had commander authority. Except as sheriff, he will no longer be able to blame higher ups in LASD, but blame the Board of Supervisors, or the governor or you name it. Commander Heal, God bless you wherever you are. You were one of the great ones.
TANAKA HAD HIS FINGER ON THE PULSE OF ALL THE DEPARTMENTS PROMOTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS, INCLUDING HAND PICKING THE SHERIFF’S DRIVERS, SO HE COULD BE INFORMED ON WHAT THE SHERIFF SAID OR DID THAT DAY. HE SCREENED ALL THE INFORMATION BEING FED TO THE SHERIFF. THE TWO LIEUTENANTS THAT WERE INDICTED WERE TANAKA BOYS. TANAKA ALREADY PUTTING THE BLAME ON THE SHERIFF AND THROWING THESE TWO LIEUTENANTS UNDER THE BUS. SAD TO THINK THEY THREW THEIR CAREERS DOWN THE TOILET FOR TANAKA. BEWARE OLMSTED IS A COWARD TOO. WE NEED A SHERIFF THAT IS NOT PART OF THIS CULTURE AND MAKE EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE.
#8: “We need a Sheriff that is not a part of this culture….”
For those who’re undecided & need guidance do you have anybody in mind?
A career law enforcement officer, Tanaka initially joined the El Segundo police department in 1980. Transferring to the LA County Sheriff’s Department two years later, he rose through the ranks, earning his stripes in 1987, and making Lieutenant in 1991. Tanaka then rose from Lieutenant to Captain in 1999, Commander in 2001 and Chief in 2002. From January 7, 2005 to June 2011, he was the an Assistant Sheriff. He is the first Japanese American in the position.
He has been criticized for his affiliation with the “Vikings”, a secret police organization brought to light amidst police misconduct litigation in 1990. Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged Tanaka still has a tattoo related to the group, which a federal judge described as “neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang.” Tanaka was tattooed as a member of the Vikings deputy gang in 1987, while serving as a deputy at the Lynwood station.
On March 7, 1988, Tanaka was involved in a controversial killing of an unarmed Korean American in Long Beach, sparking outrage among Korean American community leaders.
On October 18, 2011, at a Board meeting, Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Mark Ridley-Thomas held a motion to create a Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence with the mandate of reviewing the nature, depth and cause of Sheriff’s deputies’ inappropriate use of excessive force in County jails and to recommend corrective actions. In early 2011, the FBI launched an undercover probe at the Men’s Central Jail, to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse. The U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division also launched a wide-scale pattern and practice investigation into allegations that Antelope Valley deputies discriminated against minority residents who receive government housing assistance.
During his tenure as Undersheriff, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Sheriff Lee Baca and top commanders, including Tanaka, for perpetuating a long-standing, widespread pattern of violence by deputies against inmates in the county jails.
In September 2012, the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence a issued a final report very critical of the Sheriff Department’s management, including Baca, Tanaka and other executive-level staff, accusing them of fostering a culture in which deputies beat and humiliated, covered up misconduct and formed aggressive deputy cliques in the county jails. The report also called for the removal of Tanaka from the chain of command supervising the jail system, for statements that Tanaka had delivered, indicating that deputies could use excessive force against prisoners and that aggressive behavior would not result in discipline. The report also noted that Tanaka had accepted campaign contributions from many department employees, furthering perceptions of patronage and favoritism in promotion and assignment decisions.
Laree Waldee and gmanwhistle, I find it quite entertaining that now that Olmsted is surging forward and the Baca/Tanaka combo are shrinking violets, the predictable desperate swipes come out.
Laree, you seemed enamored with retired Cmdr. Sid Heal. I know him pretty well myself, and he’s a nice man, no argument there. What you don’t seem to grasp, however, is that once Sid promoted to Commander he did the disappearing act and spent his time playing with toys the department was thinking on purchasing, not exactly a hotbed of controversy and a place to stand up against corruption. When he was confronted with people trying to “fix” problems, he stood fast and sung the company song acapella – not his finest leadership moment.
Olmsted, on the other hand, was on the line trying to undo all the shenanigans Tanaka was sending his way, while Baca was busy touring the world. Your disdain for Olmsted’s efforts were not shared by the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence, by the way. You also don’t seem to grasp the concept of authority exercised in a quasi-military structure. I could explain it to you, but that will be your homework. Run along now, you have reading to do. You may also consider speaking with Sid and confess your bromance with him, I’m sure he would be flattered.
As for gmanwhistle, to call a man a coward anonymously, and then without any facts, makes you twice the coward. I gather you are a Baca cheerleader and you’re scared of losing your ill-gotten gains. You should be afraid, and rightfully so. You don’t qualify to carry Olmsted’s war bag.
Now is the time to vet the candidates, and Olmsted is fair game in the political arena. If you want to be taken seriously, however, try something more credible than these two charlatans…
And just like basketball fans who visit their favourite NBA blogs for quality basketball updates, you
can be sure that you have pokergab. World, Treasure Isle, Mafia Wars, Frontierville, Pet
– Ville, Zynga Poker, Yoville, Fishville, or any other Zynga game either on the Zynga website or on Facebook, AND you have installed the
Zynga Toolbar, you need to pay close attention to your
browser this morning. I’m a Frontier – Ville addict, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.