Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas called for the county to take a greater oversight role over the Sheriff's Department after yesterday’s indictment of 18 former and current deputies on charges of abusing inmates and jail visitors, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Ultimately, the next step in this process of reform is oversight and this should not be taken lightly because of the need to make sure that we are building a culture where no one operates under the impression they are above the law,” he said.
Ridley-Thomas acknowledged that Sheriff Lee Baca would have to consent to increased oversight, but argued that it is in Baca's “best interest” given the emerging controversy. He said he would model such an effort after the commission that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department, which was rocked by major misconduct convictions in an anti-gang unit during the so-called Rampart scandal in the 1990s. “This is a cultural problem, fundamentally so, and this is tantamount in some ways to the stench of Rampart, without the same levels of brutality in this particular instance,” the supervisor said. “But the corruption that it speaks to is most unsettling.”