California opens civil rights probe into Los Angeles sheriff’s workplace

Jan. 22 (UPI) – California District Attorney Xavier Becerra announced Friday that he was launching a civil rights investigation into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in response to allegations of excessive violence and other examples of unconstitutional policing.

He accused the LASD of not having “sustained and comprehensive oversight”.

“There are serious concerns and reports that there are no accountability and compliance with legitimate police practices in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” Becerra said. “We’re conducting this investigation to see if LASD has violated the law or the rights of the people of Los Angeles County.”

He said that unlike a criminal investigation, the civil investigation will determine whether there are systematic violations of civilians’ constitutional rights by law enforcement officers. In addition to possible excessive violence, the LASD was charged with retaliatory acts.

He declined to give specific examples of police misconduct, but there have been a number of police killings in recent years

Becerra urged anyone with information relevant to the investigation to contact the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Division.

With almost 18,000 members, the LASD is the largest sheriff’s department in the country.

According to the Youth Justice Coalition, the department has killed at least 336 people since 2000.

Of the people killed by Los Angeles County police officers in those 20 years, 25% were black – more than three times their population. Fourteen percent had mental health problems.

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