JusticeLA is horrified by the brutality and negligence depicted in the videos coming out of Men’s Central Jail (MCJ). What is immediately clear from the videos and Keri Blakinger’s reporting is that people are not safe under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and that LASD personnel are collecting and storing footage of violence and medical neglect. We find the behavior on the tapes and the storage of the footage disgusting and inexcusable.
People are dying inside of LA’s jails at the rate of almost one person per week. In less than 6 months, 24 people have lost their lives inside of LA County jails. This horrific loss of life is due in large part to LASD’s own culture of violence and indifference to the lives of those incarcerated. LASD has over 17,000 budgeted positions so any attempt to label LASD’s mismanagement of the jails as a problem of “understaffing” cannot be taken at face value. Members of the Sybil Brand Commission have noted that during their visits to the jails LASD staff sit there and do nothing, pretend to do safety checks, and are blatantly disrespectful to the commissioners. LASD deputy gangs are born from the units responsible for oversight in MCJ. Violence against incarcerated persons is integral to the operations of LASD deputies responsible for jail supervision. Adding deputies to reduce liability is clearly not the answer to LASD use of force. A reduction in LASD staff and a reduction in the jail population is the only way to mitigate LASD use of force inside LA County jails.
Today the Board of Supervisors will begin deliberations on the FY2023-2024 recommended budget. Once again, LASD is asking for a $4 billion dollar budget and to increase its staffing levels. The Board MUST consider the consequences of green-lighting a status-quo budget for LASD. Approving LASD’s $4 billion dollar request means $4 billion to a department plagued by deputy gangs, $4 billion to a department that stands idly by while people die in LASD custody, and $4 billion to those responsible for terrorizing and murdering our community members.
Our eyes are on the Board of Supervisors. The only way forward out of LASD’s brutality is to reduce LASD’s budget, reduce LASD staffing levels, and to close Men’s Central Jail.