Lee Baca announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down as the Los Angeles sheriff as reports of departmental misconduct continue to surface.
Baca spoke at a news conference to announce his retirement at the end of January only a month after 18 deputies and officers were indicted following accusations of widespread county jail inmate abuse, reports The New York Times.
In addition, the 71-year-old sheriff has been accused of biased hiring, particularly of those with connections to him. Many L.A. officials have tried to cover up the abuse when it became clear that the FBI was circling the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.
Baca said that his reason for stepping down was of the “negative perception” due to the allegations being lobbied at his department ahead of the next election, according to TIME. “I didn’t want to have to enter a campaign that would be full of negative, contentious politicking.”
Of the 18 officers indicted, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said that “some members of the Sheriff’s Department considered themselves to be above the law.”
Baca insisted that though his department had their mistakes during his terms as sheriff, they had made improvements, including creating an inmate complaint database and bringing in some new hires to fix issues.
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