LA County Seal

By Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 08/05/14, 3:12 PM PDT | Updated: 1 min ago

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors narrowly rejected a plan Tuesday to create a civilian oversight commission for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, voting 3-2 against the proposal.

Supervisors Don Knabe, Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich voted against the plan with the officials questioning how another group would change the troubled department, which is under investigation by the federal government for alleged abuse by sheriff’s deputies.

Yaroslavsky said the “ambiguous roles” of current oversight committees may have contributed to the lack of focus in addressing the department’s problems.

“Simply put, when everyone is in charge, no one is charge,” Yaroslavsky said.

Tuesday’s vote marked a defeat for the dozens of attendees who crowded into the downtown supervisor’s meeting to support the plan. Many talked of violence in the county’s jails during an emotional rally outside the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, and told stories of alleged brutality by sheriffs deputies.

Speaking through a translator, Obdulio Oliba recounted in Spanish an incident in which he said his son was shot four times in the back by a sheriff’s deputy. “I never read anything positive about this department,” Oliba told reporters. ”This department needs discipline and it needs therapy.”

Rabbi Jonathan Klein, of the Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, also spoke at the rally and urged elected officials to “do the right thing” and vote for creating the commission. Behind him, protesters held signs urging Yaroslavsky to vote “yes.”

“We’re worried about what’s happening in the county jails,” Klein said.

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina pushed for the plan, saying civilian oversight was critical, even if such a review board could only play an advisory role.

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