Police Abuse

UPDATED: LA Sheriff Lee Baca Announces Retirement Amid FBI Investigation


The Los Angeles Times reported late Jan. 6 that LA Sheriff Lee Baca would announce his retirement Tuesday, a month after 18 Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) officials were charged with federal crimes ranging from excessive force used on jail inmates and visitors to hiding an FBI informant from his handlers. The announcement is expected at a 10am (PT) press conference. From the LA Times this morning:

The news of Baca's decision to step down has stunned people inside and outside the Sheriff's Department. He was locked in a tough reelection battle amid several scandals that beset the department.

Baca, 71, told top officials in county government late Monday that he believes stepping down would help the department recover after several years of tumult and criticism, according to sources familiar with the conversations.

"This scandal has been developing over the years. It's not as if these indictments came down in a vacuum," said Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU-SC), Peter Eliasberg to Reason TV in Dec. 2013. "When you have 18 that are federally indicted. That's a major, major problem."

For more on problems in the L.A. County Jail system watch, LA County Jail Officers Charged with Federal Crimes; Jail monitors Respond:

Baca also faced criticism over hiring numerous problem officers in 2010 that had histories of misconduct at other law enforcement agencies, had solicited prostitutes, falsified police records and unlawfully discharged firearms. LASD admitted to hiring at least 80 problem officers but still may not be able to fire them because they hired them knowing they had problems.

For more on the LASD and misconduct in the department, read and watch LA County Sheriff's Hassle Photographer, Trample Constitution, Get Lauded by Bosses:


"I will go out on my terms," said Sheriff Lee Baca to reporters and supporters at a press conference outside LASD headquarters. Baca prasied LASD as the "greatest law enforcement agency in the world," after saying he would retire, effective at the end of January 2014.

Baca said he would recommend Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald as interim Sheriff. From the LASD website:

Terri McDonald, a 24-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was recently appointed to the position of Assistant Sheriff by Sheriff Lee Baca and will oversee the Custody Division of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Here is the press release featuring Baca's statements from today's press conference.

NEXT: Iraqi Military Spokesman Says Al Qaeda the Only Source of Order in Fallujah

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. His reward is a nice six figure pension, right?

    1. That’s punishment, dude. He has to collect a six-figure pension without being able to go in and work for it every day.

      1. God, that poor guy. Maybe he can find work as a highly paid consultant of some kind for the new chief? Man, I hope so. 🙁

        1. With “jail privileges” – so he can get his sparring practice in.

      2. He still gets 50-state concealed carry for life.

    2. The word on the street is that he has an indictment coming his way, as does Paul Tanaka. Don’t think they are going to be able to enjoy their pensions.

      1. Does California do public official death penalties? Florida stripped a Secretary of Corrections’ pension and benefits for taking kickbacks, and I believe several of the other higher-ups. It got everybody’s attention at FLDOC.

        1. They do, but it is rarely used and completely separate from the criminal proceedings. The charges are going to be federal, so Baca will likely have what amounts to a life sentence if convicted…

  2. But they were just following orders!

  3. Good riddance.

  4. The Los Angeles Times reported late Jan. 6 that LA Sheriff Lee Baca would aannounce his retirement Tuesday

    Paul, Paul, Paul… you just can’t give monsters like us an opening like this. We are horrible.

    1. If the announcement is coming tuesday, might it be “I’ll retire in 2021.”

    2. If you’ll notice, it’s two different links. I don’t know how reason web software creates their links, but this seems like some sort of scandal in the making. How long until that extra letter disappears down the a hole?

      1. Huge scandal. Day of the Commenters level scandal.

        1. SugarFree|1.7.14 @ 11:54AM|#
          “Huge scandal”

          Nope. Fake scandal ’cause rethugs!

  5. I just read his Wikipedia page. It appears Baca was a Republican, but one who opposed proposition 8 and proposed a tax increase to be used to fund deputy salaries. More interesting he won office by winning “against his mentor Sherman Block, who had died in office days prior to the election but remained on the ballot.”

    1. I’m sure he’s not the only sheriff who has beaten a dead man.

  6. Oh my God! James Taranto is so sexist, says Media Matters!

    Under the legal regime that has prevailed for more than four decades, any woman who gives birth out of wedlock does so because she chooses to do so. To assign responsibility is not necessarily to assign blame: One may hold the view, for example, that illegitimate childbirth is morally preferable to abortion, or that widespread illegitimacy is not as bad for society as the decline in fertility that would occur, all else being equal, if sex outside marriage never produced a child.

    It is sexist to hold women responsible for their own actions. We should treat women like children who have no control over their lives and are in desperate need of help. That would not be sexist.

    Also, he’s not even wrong. In a world of easy access to birth control and legal abortion, if you have a child out of wedlock it WAS based on your choice.

    1. I do not think it follows from ‘X is easily prevented’ that ‘if X happens to you, you must have chosen it.’

      1. “I do not think” — Bo Cara Esq.

        1. Very convincing counterargument on your part.

          1. That was an argument?

      2. is someone in the US today being forced to bear children? Come on. Choice doesn’t only mean abortion; it means keeping the child, too.

        Besides, your logic train has derailed. No one said that pregnancy is always chosen, just that childbirth is.

        1. “No one said that pregnancy is always chosen, just that childbirth is.”

          Irish specifically referred to birth control as well as abortion, but even if we restricted it to the latter I do not think that a person not getting themselves an abortion means they have chosen to have the child. For one thing, depending on where one lives, abortions are not that easy to get.

          A friend of mine was ill not long ago with something that he could have gotten cleared up rather quickly had he gone to a doctor, got a prescription and filled it. He did not. It would seem odd to say he ‘chose to be sick’ though.

          1. Was there a 9 month time lag in that case?

            1. Really, just block the fucker. It’s heavenly.

          2. something that he could have gotten cleared up rather quickly had he gone to a doctor, got a prescription and filled it. He did not.

            He chose to keep the syphilis longer than he needed to.

      3. Its not just that “X is easily prevented”, as if X is something that can happen to you at random.

        No, getting pregnant starts with a choice to have sex* (protected or no, pregnancy is a known risk).

        Then, once you have chosen to take the risk of getting pregnant, you can choose to end the pregnancy.

        So, yeah, I don’t see any way around the idea that carrying a baby to term is a choice.

        *Yeah, yeah, rape. Whatev. We’re talking about standard-issue pregnancies.

      4. What’s that about choosing not to decide?

        1. Some Canadian told me you still have made a choice.

    2. “I didn’t think I could get pregnant.”
      — The mother of my son, three weeks after telling me not to worry about the condom and giving me the okeydokey about going to CVS for Plan B.

      It should be noted that I took a casual view towards contraception after I decided she was sane enough to live with for the next 20 years.

      1. I had 2 things to get done in Dec in addition to all of my regular responsibilities:

        1) Give away/throw away all of the baby clothes/toys/crib/packn’play stored in the garage.

        2) Get a vasectomy

        I only got one of those things done.

        Now I need to buy a bunch of new baby shit.

        1. Congratulations. The H&R Breeding Project continues, eh?

          1. Apparently. And I had no idea I was a part of it.

            1. Like a wise old man once told me, “Its never the right time for a kid, but its always the right time for fuckin’. I think our species will be around for a while.”

              1. I blame it on vacation. Otherwise, we never would have had time to bone down.

            2. Maybe the memo was late due to all the poor weather in the midwest?

        2. Sounds like my cousin in law. They have four kids, the youngest of whom is almost five, and my cousin (his wife) found out she was pregnant again about a week before he was scheduled to get a vasectomy.

          1. Believe me, I’ll be making an appointment soon. And I’m going to jog home afterward.

            I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old, so it’s not that big of a deal to start over with another one. If I had 4 kids already, and the youngest was already 5, I would be devastated.

            1. Well my cousin is happy, because the older four are all boys and she finally got a girl

      2. “I didn’t think I could get pregnant.”


        I agree with the consensus that pussy is a good hobby to waste an hour on, but it’s not so good that I’m going to get hooked for the next 18 years for an hour of fun-time.

        If she doesn’t “think” she can get pregnant, and still has ovaries inside of her, she hasn’t thought hard enough.

        1. Fatherhood ain’t for everyone, but it is for me. I waited until I could afford it, but it suits me to the bone and she’s alright even when we keep our clothes on. But yeah, I agree, people who don’t use contraceptive technology end up being called “parents”.

          1. “she’s alright even when we keep our clothes on”

            Pro Tip: Put that in an anniversary card. Don’t change a word.

          2. You’re my age (34), right? Where are you in age range compared to the other dads in your neighborhood? I’m the youngest by about 5-10 years. It was pretty surprising when I first picked my kid up at Pre-School. I wasn’t sure if some of the other adults were grandparents or not…

            1. Yep, same age. Many of my peers had kids earlier, but my wife at 26 is at the front of her peer group (girls from college educated people who also went to college) to have kids. I feel like I have lots of friends about my age with 2-6 year olds, but several are spawning for the first time now. So I think your experience with having kids in pre-school would be very normal here.

        2. I know a woman who got pregnant while on the pill and using a condom. This is the truth. Evidently she was on some sort of antibiotic that interacted badly with the pill, and knowing this, she and her husband used a condom, which failed.

          On the other hand, I know couples who have been trying for years to conceive, and have been unsuccessful.

          1. If I were the husband, I might want a paternity test on that one…

            Everybody who gave me advice about conceiving kids was wrong. My parents said it would probably take a year of trying to conceive, my in-laws said 2 years, etc etc.

            First kid was conceived in the 1st day or 2 of the honeymoon, 2nd kid conceived 6 days after my wife’s ortho pills ran out, and 3rd kid conceived after a 1 and done in Hawaii.

            My brother’s wife, on the other hand, had 4 years of fertility treatments before getting pregnant. It’s hard to get pregnant if you don’t have a soul…

            1. Strong swimmers. You and Antonio Cromartie.

    3. To add a little perspective, before the chattering classes fill the internet with OUTRAGE and the original article is lost in the mists of time:

      The second is the introduction of the pill, which the Food and Drug Administration approved for contraceptive use in 1960. It made nonmarital sex far more easily available, reducing the incentive for men to marry. As George Akerlof and Janet Yellen argued in a 1996 paper (yes, that Janet Yellen, and Akerlof is her husband), the pill very quickly broke down the old institution of the shotgun wedding. With reproduction under female control, it became a female responsibility. Men no longer felt obligated to marry women by whom they fathered children. The paradoxical-seeming result is that a technology to reduce “unwanted pregnancy” massively increased out-of-wedlock births.

      This is factual, but omits a single, crucial fact: Men can still be held financially liable for children, with or without a wedding ring (some men are held liable for children who aren’t theirs, but that’s an argument for another day). In fact, if a man engages in one of these AWFUL shotgun weddings, and then gets divorced, he’s on the hook for alimony/maintenance AND child support.

      1. No fault divorce came into more regular acceptance around the same time. So divorce would not have been a viable option for most men prior to 1960 and the Pill, although the two share no direct link.

  7. I have a suggestion for your next act, Sheriff.

    Hang yourself, with a note of remorse and apology pinned to your shirt.

  8. Reportedly he will be retiring to Kashyyyk so he can spend more time with his brother, Chew Baca.

    1. Leebacca was on The Star Wars Christmas Special for Star Day or whatever that stupid ersatz Christmas was for wookies.

      1. Can we just agree not to talk about that monstrosity and send it on down the memory hole?

        1. Bea Arthur disapproves.

        2. Look, I didn’t hire the guy.

      2. Was that the one with the little Aryan kids with the headbands?

      3. Life Day! That was the worst abortion of a program I’ve ever had to sit through.

  9. I’d like to reassure my fellow reasonoids that Sheriff Baca will be issued a retired badge and, like other retired LASD personnel, will still be able to order official LASD business cards (with retired after the rank).

    1. I wouldn’t even be remotely surprised if this were true.

      1. Question #3 answers lost retired badges.

        Business cards ordering. Found link on LASD Retirees website.

    2. There are still indictments coming down. I know some of the people involved, and they are scared shitless. Baca and Tanaka will be in cuffs before the end of the year. Federal cuffs.

      1. But what about Tony?

    1. Need more like this guy, at least on this issue.

      1. Dallas gets a lot right re: the criminal justice system. IIRC, they have the most robust Innocence Project in the country, too…

        1. Only since Watkins became DA. Before that, they were among the worst in the nation.

          Who says we’re a government of laws, not men?

  10. …a month after 18 Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) officials were charged with federal crimes ranging from excessive force used on jail inmates and visitors to hiding an FBI informant from his handlers.

    Any guesses which charge the Feds really care about?

  11. He’s locking in his pension before he gets indicted.

  12. Why is that douche wearing five stars on his collar? Who the fuck does he think he is, Omar Bradley or something?


  13. up to I saw the check of $8495, I did not believe …that…my best friend actualy earning money part time from their computer.. there friend brother started doing this 4 only fourteen months and as of now cleared the dept on there appartment and got a top of the range Ariel Atom. website here

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.