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Sheriff's Top Commanders OKed Brutality Against Jailed Inmates, ACLU Suit Says

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The ACLU is suing the Sheriff's Department in federal court, claiming that top commanders knew that inmates were being brutalized but failed to do anything about it.

"This suit is directed at them because they have allowed deputies to go unpunished, covered up their behavior and for years made no effort to reform this broken system," Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California told City News Service.

The class action is being filed on behalf of plaintiffs Alex Rosas and Jonathan Goodwin, inmates who said they were beaten and threatened with violence while they awaited trial. The suit asks a federal judge to oversee big top-down changes in the way that the jail treats its inmates. The suit asks for revised use-of-force policies, more supervision of deputies and increased transparency overall on behalf of all present and future inmates, according to City News Service.

For anyone who has been following the story, the lawsuit isn't surprising news. The Los Angeles Times found a memo to top commanders warning them that brutality against inmates could put them at risk legally, but Baca said he literally never got the memo.

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Back in September, the ACLU called upon Baca to resign. But the Sheriff's department sounds butt hurt that the ACLU decided to go full-speed ahead with a suit, even after meeting with the Sheriff last Friday.

"The sheriff reached out to them last week because he wants to work with the ACLU,'' sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told City News Service. "They never mentioned a lawsuit. The sheriff's attitude is, 'Let's do this together' — and then they sue him. The sheriff has always believed that critics have a value in order to make this a better department. His goal is to right any wrongs. The only difference today is all the increased publicity.''