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Vote Yes on Measure A to Hold the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Accountable to Angelenos


Los Angeles County has reached a crisis point with its sheriff’s department. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) provides a startling case of how a law enforcement agency can wreak havoc on low-income communities of color. This November, Catalyst California is endorsing Measure A, which would create sheriff accountability by allowing the Board of Supervisors to remove a Sheriff who engages in misconduct.

Over the last decade, our society has become increasingly aware of the racial disparities that plague our criminal legal systems. Los Angeles County is no exception. We see significant disparities in the use of force, arrests, and incarceration when it comes to Black and Latinx residents compared to their counterparts. LASD has displayed an inclination to perpetuate these and other disparities. For example, in 2022, L.A. County’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that, in Antelope Valley high schools patrolled by LASD, Black students were “contacted by law enforcement, issued citations, subjected to arrest, suspended, and expelled at disproportionately higher rates than other racial groups.” Instead of cooperating with OIG, LASD canceled meetings and failed to provide any factual basis for its denial of disparate treatment. Similarly, OIG found that Black people in custody at the LASD-operated Century Regional Detention Facility were underrepresented in credit-earning programming and that LASD appears to be doing little to address the issue.

Beyond these operational problems, LASD has:

  • Formed at least 18 secret gangs and cliques over the last 50 years that encourage and use aggressive tactics (like uses of force and harassment) against communities of color and have cost taxpayers about $55 million in settlements;
  • Terminated misconduct investigations, including criminal allegations, in violation of department policy;
  • Defied lawful subpoenas and court orders;
  • Violated laws on transparency and oversight; and
  • Willfully defied oversight attempts by both the L.A. Board of Supervisors and Civilian Oversight Commission.

All too often, LASD faces little to no accountability when it engages in misconduct, especially in between elections. While entities like OIG and the Civilian Oversight Commission can investigate and expose such misconduct, only voters really have the authority to hold the sheriff accountable every four years. For a sheriff inclined to overlook or, at worst, encourage misconduct, four years is a lot of time to inflict harm on communities negligently or willfully. More mechanisms are needed to ensure such harm can be addressed and avoided.

To place Los Angeles on a path toward accountability, justice, and equity, L.A. residents should vote YES on Measure A.

For more information, visit YesonA.LA.