Author: Carol

The Civil Rights Movement Is Not a New World

The Civil Rights Movement Is Not a New World

Editorial: You owe another $5 for excessive force by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies. Pay up

There may have been a time when the Los Angeles County sheriff’s civil rights unit was so successful that the rest of the city’s civil rights leaders were not only shocked but also embarrassed.

When then County supervisor Tom Green took the unusual step of publicly opposing Sheriff Lee Baca in the early 1990s, it was not just because Green hated Baca but because he feared that a victory by Baca would damage the county’s civil rights unit, leaving only a small number of the sheriff’s deputies eligible for the unit’s benefits.

Then, when Baca fired the deputies who had beaten and arrested Rodney King, the unit’s board and civil rights leaders were stunned.

After all, this was the same Baca, who had a reputation for being a brutal sheriff.

Yet the civil rights activists were stunned by what they had just witnessed, and shocked and embarrassed that the rest of the city’s civil rights leaders were not just shocked but also embarrassed.

On Wednesday, L.A. County supervisors voted overwhelmingly to end the deputy’s practice of patting handcuffed prisoners on the head and the back. This is a big deal — it was a vote in which the County Civil Service Board voted unanimously to end it, which means that the deputies — who were previously guilty of patting suspects on the head and the back — will be fired.

And when civil rights leaders in the city and county, including the NAACP, the L.A. County Federation of Labor and several other organizations, and even a reporter, wrote letters saying they were outraged by the deputies’ patting, the County Civil Service Board said it would review the deputies’ “reputation” and asked L.A. County Board President Eric Artis to consider a change in the law. Now, it is unlikely that L.A. County civil rights officer and Baca loyalist Larry Alexander will ever reach the same status in the civil rights movement as L.A. County supervisor

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