Orange County, Ca., will create a civilian commission that would review misconduct complaints against county law enforcement, the Los Angeles Times reports. The county board of supervisors will spend two months fine-tuning details of the proposal before giving final approval, a concession to the sheriff, district attorney, and some board members. Supervisor Patricia Bates wondered whether it would be a “toothless tiger,” while Supervisor Janet Nguyen believes it would be a conflict of interest for commission members to e trained by the district attorney’s office, which the panel would watch over.
The commission was proposed after Orange County’s first jail inmate death in 17 years. John Chamberlain was beaten to death by inmates in October in an attack that lasted half an hour with no intervention from guards. His father has filed a $20-million claim against the county, alleging that guards instigated the attack by telling inmates, erroneously, that Chamberlain was a child molester. The county has paid $1.5 million since 2000 and faces 31 lawsuits stemming from the county jail system. He said the panel would give civilians confidence that their complaints were treated seriously and could help reduce the county’s legal liability.