Florists in Clendenin, WV
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Clendenin Flower Shops
11 Main St
Clendenin, WV 25045
11 Main St
Clendenin, WV 25045
Clendenin WV News
Apr 22, 2016
Lie and Deny: Secrecy and Suspicion Surround the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Pacific Coast Highway and Webb Way in Malibu on September 26, 2009. Richardson's remains were found the following August. Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/Getty
Mitrice Richardson was a young woman who became a case but also cause. To many in Los Angeles, she is a symbol too, as potent as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, or Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, of a law enforcement culture that has grown contemptuous of both laws and men. “I consider Mitrice Richardson to be a victim of police brutality,” says Jasmyne Cannick, a Los Angeles journalist who writes frequently about race.
To those familiar with the LASD, everything about the handling of the Richardson case is horrific, but none of it is surprising. “The Sheriff’s Department is much worse than LAPD,” one lawyer said in a Knight Ridder investigation into the LASD. That was in the summer of 1991, blurry footage of Rodney King being beaten by four Los Angeles Police Department officers haunting the nation. The lawyer continued: “A growing joke in our circles is you never would have had the Rodney King videotape if they were sheriff’s deputies, because they just would have shot him.”
The sheriff at the time was Sherman Block, who died in 1998 and was replaced by Leroy “Lee” Baca, who had spent three decades rising steadily through the LASD ranks. The department was his from 1998 until 2014.
Now, though, Baca is probably headed to prison for lying to federal investigators looking into abuses in the jails run by his department. Because he took a plea deal, the sentence, to be doled out in May, won’t be longer than six months. The sentence for Baca’s longtime undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, who was convicted earlier this month on a similar array of charges, could be up to 15 years. Neither man had any direct connection to Richardson’s disappearance, but the secrecy, tribalism and cynical dishonesty that tarnished that investigation have manifested elsewhere: in the horrific abuses in the Los Angeles jail system, the nation’s largest, which the LASD operates; in the racial profiling by LASD deputies across the Antelope Valley; in charges of fawning favoritism for celebrities but often belligerent disdain for the average citizen.
Bob Olmsted, a former LASD commander who mounted a failed bid for the department’s top spot in 2014, tells me the men in charge of the department had an modus operandi for all potentially troublesome situations: “lie and deny.”
“They destroyed the organization,” he says of Baca and Tanaka. “They destroyed the public trust.”
Incoherent, Rambling, Troubling
In the car with Croft and Hampton, a lighter mood returned as we climbed into the untarnished sunlight of a Southern California afternoon, toward the place where, on August 9, 2010, Richardson’s remains were found by park rangers looking to see if marijuana growers had returned to Dark Canyon. Eventually, Croft stopped the car. From the side of the road, a dirt path wound down toward the canyon floor, where Dark Creek trickled weakly beneath a thick cupola of tangled branches. Croft stayed with the vehicle while Hampton and I descended into the thicket. Scaling boulders and beating back brush, we both fell several times, and Hampton broke her hiking cane. We finally turned back, unable to reach the place where Richardson died or, given its rugged remoteness, more likely was taken after she’d been killed.
Hampton is a psychologist from Pomona, on the east side of Los Angeles County. She has a daughter of her own, but she has devoted the last seven years to searching for the truth about what happened to Richardson. The bond between the two women was originally professional: Richardson was an intern at Hampton’s private practice during her senior year at California State University, Fullerton, starting in the fall of 2008. She graduated that winter and seemed to be enjoying the freedoms of ... (Newsweek)