Inspector General Archives - Dignity and Power Now

Through and To the Criminal Judicial System

My personal experience brought me through and to the criminal judicial system. I was found guilty at trial for something that I did not do and was sentenced to one year in county jail. While incarcerated for 6 months in 2011 at the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF), I was sexually abused by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and by medical staff.

When I filed complaints in my first month at CRDF they all fell on deaf ears.

This experience brought me to my role as a Dignity and Power Now campaign lead for support of a Civilian Oversight Commission over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

As campaign lead I researched for one year civilian oversight commissions and review boards all across the US, Canada, and Europe. My research included budgets, size of police and sheriff’s departments, salaries, staffing, litigation costs, subpoena power, how many commission members, policy, and protocol. I consistently brought forth pertinent information to share with the working group members like what was working for oversight/review boards across the US and what is necessary for future effective civilian oversight commissions.

My research was to sharpen our knowledge of our 5 non-negotiable demands. Subpoena power, no former or current law enforcement, direct the work of the Office of Inspector General, a nine seat panel, and independent counsel. After one year here is what we won: 1. no current law enforcement, 2. nine seat member commission. Now we are in a fight for the Civilian Oversight Commission to obtain subpoena power by changing County Charter.

The purpose of subpoena power is to have access to police personnel files for more transparency and accountability within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during investigations regarding police misconduct and excessive use of force. Without subpoena power we simply have an incomplete investigation.

This type of thorough investigation would have helped my personal experience at Century Regional Detention Facility. A civilian oversight commission with subpoena power increases transparency and accountability within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during police misconduct investigations.

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My personal experience with advocacy is hands-on education and learning with the American Civil Liberties Union in April 2016. I went to the capital in Sacramento and learned how to lobby senators, assemblymen, and assemblywomen with an ACLU constitutional attorney in support of SB-1286. SB-1286 (or the Police Officer Misconduct Bill) is a bill that would grant subpoena power to all civilian oversight/review boards in the state of California. Although currently waiting to be brought up again in the next bill cycle, SB-1286 is another viable route to make sure Los Angeles County’s Civilian Oversight Commission has the power it needs to be effective.

Stay tuned to our blog or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with my work as civilian oversight campaign lead and the fight to change County Charter and pass SB-1286!

Civilian Review Board: TAKE ACTION!

Where We’ve Come

For over two years the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in L.A. Jails has been fighting for an independent civilian review board of the sheriff’s department. When the C2ESV first began no one believed in the concept but we continued to build and fight to ensure sheriff accountability was ultimately put in the hands of the community. The result has been a county wide movement to ensure that the community is legally empowered with the tools necessary to prevent sheriff abuse, demand transparency, and enact accountability by sheriff personnel that harm our loved ones inside the county jail. On December 9th of 2014, the county Board of Supervisors voted to implement a civilian oversight commission! This victory is huge and now we need to work hard to protect our vision of a civilian commission that hold the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department accountable!

Where We Are Now

The December 9th vote created a working group that is responsible for establishing the powers, responsibilities, and composition of the oversight commission. Over the next month this working group will meet to draft a proposal for the county Board of Supervisors to approve. We need your help! There are 7 members of the commission and we need to let them know that the community wants a board with the legal backing to hold the largest sheriff’s department in the county accountable. We have five non-negotioable demands:

  • Subpoena power
  • Composed of 9 members, 4 community appointed
  • Independent legal counsel
  • No law enforcement or retired law enforcement
  • Direct the functions of the Inspector General

How You Can Help

We need you to call the working group members and let them know that you believe effective civilian oversight must include the five characteristics laid out above. The functions, powers, and composition of the commission cannot be shaped without the input of the community that has been fighting for effective oversight for over the last two years. Contact the working group members below:

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1) DEAN HANSELL, former Federal Trade Commission prosecutor (310) 785-4665
2) NEAL TYLER, current LASD chief (323) 526-5122
3) HERNAN VERA, public interest lawyer (526) 882-6286
4) MAX HUNTSMAN, Inspector General (213) 974-6100
5) LES ROBBINS, 30-year LASD deputy veteran (323) 213-4005
6) VINCENT HARRIS, Senior Advisor to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (213) 974-2222
7) BRENT BRAUN, former FBI agent and campaigned for Sheriff McDonnell (310) 871-6431

For more on civilian review boards please see our FAQ here.