Editorial: You owe another $5 for excessive force by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies. Pay up.
By now, everyone is familiar with the details of the Sheriff’s Department’s scandal at the hands of its deputy force. According to multiple sources who have spoken to the media, officers have violated their civil and constitutional rights on a massive scale. Those violations, which were detailed in a report issued by the department and obtained by a Los Angeles Times reporter, reveal that the deputies have engaged in a pattern of misconduct that has brought the agency deep into disrepute.
To be clear, as far as anyone knows, all of the deputies involved are no longer with the department. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will have to decide what happens to them. To be clear, we believe that the decision should be that these officers should remain on the payroll of the department, for what they have done is no different than any other law enforcement officer.
We believe in upholding the rights of law enforcement officers, and particularly those who perform the job of protecting us all. As we have seen over the past few years in cities across the country, when this type of abuse of power, and a culture of complacency and indifference, spread to the community at large, it has dire consequences.
As we watch these events unfold, we are reminded that when this type of misconduct occurs, it is the job of those in law enforcement to deal harshly with those who break the law, whether by omission or commission. As we saw when the Sheriff’s Department came to grips with the misconduct of its deputies, the appropriate response is to fire an offender, and let the legal process take its course.
So in response to the shocking details of the deputy force scandal, the Times urges the Sheriff’s Department to make that very choice. And we hope that the department and the Board of Supervisors will not take any shortcuts to ensure that L.A. County has its own police force to be proud of, and to use to solve our most critical problems and serve our society well. As the Times wrote in its article, “The Department’s Crisis: A Case Study in Bureaucratic Fail, by Jon Krakauer in his New Yorker