Deputies Investigated For Stealing From Towed Cars And Accepting Bribes
Three L.A. County Sheriff's deputies are accused of taking bribes from drivers and stealing valuables and cash out of towed cars. The officers worked at the Century Station in Lynwood, which patrols Lynwood and nearby unincorporated areas, the L.A. Times reports. They allegedly stole money and valuables from cars that had been towed, and accepted bribes from drivers who didn't want their cars impounded, a release from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said. The investigation began in early December, when evidence of the thefts and bribery surfaced. Based on that investigation, the department believes the officers were all acting on their own, not as a team, and that no other officers were involved.
The names of the officers have not been released. They will remain on paid leave along with one parking control officer until the internal investigation is finished.
"As a law enforcement organization, it is imperative that we earn the public's trust each day," the department's new sheriff, Jim McDonnell, said in a statement. "Any acts of misconduct by members of our Department tarnish the badge all of us wear and erode the confidence the public has in law enforcement." This statement echoes remarks McDonnell made about cleaning up corruption in his speech in December when he was sworn in as Sheriff. Then, he talked about how the public only sees one badge, and he pledged to restore its shine.
The towing allegations are small potatoes compared to the corruption McDonnell was referencing. In September, six deputies were sentenced to federal prison for interfering with an FBI investigation into jail abuse at Men's Central Jail.