In an opening segment last night devoted to calling out politicians for attempting to score political points by being “tough on crime,” Rachel Maddow highlighted an ACLU report released yesterday documenting dozens of stories of brutal violence carried out by sheriff’s deputies against inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail, the largest in the nation.
The court-appointed monitor of the jail since 1985, the ACLU has in past reports detailed deputy-on-inmate abuse in the jails. But yesterday’s report is the first in which chaplain and other civilian eyewitnesses come forward with first-hand accounts.
Combined with thousands of complaints from jail prisoners received by the ACLU in the past year alone — many of which describe attacks so severe that inmates required surgeries, suffered long-lasting injuries and experienced psychological trauma — the stories expose pervasive abuse of inmates at the hands of deputies and an ongoing climate of violence.
That’s why the ACLU yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who is in charge of running the jail, and is asking you to help us call on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Los Angeles County Jail system and put an end to the unconstitutional and unconscionable abuse of the jail's prisoners.
As Maddow herself put it so eloquently:
It is not about whether you like the person who the guy in uniform is beating up. What this is about is the fact that the guy in the uniform is us. That that is in our name. This is a democracy. Government of, for and by the people…These political fights, every bit as much as who we elect in the next election, will write what history says about who we are as a country.
In the News:
Take action today. Help stop the abuse in LA’s jails.