Sheriff Baca Accused of Retaliating Against Department Officials

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials who have backed a rival of Sheriff Lee Baca in next year’s election claim they are being retaliated against with reassignments to distant locales or less desirable duties, according to interviews and documents.

tanaka baca

Of the nine captains who have publicly backed former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, left, in his bid to replace Sheriff Lee Baca, right, four were transferred to other jobs. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

One, Capt. Louis Duran, has filed a complaint against Baca with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, a precursor to a possible lawsuit. Of the nine captains who have publicly backed former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in his bid to replace Baca, four were transferred to other jobs earlier this month, according to documents obtained by the Times.

Attorney Brad Gage, who represents Duran and other members of the department claiming to be victims of retaliation, said he expected to sue the Sheriff’s Department next month.

“There are a number of individuals who have been well-known Tanaka supporters over the years. The ones that are most loyal to Tanaka have been the subject of improper internal affairs complaints, sometimes criminal allegations without merit, transfers from favorable assignments to those assignments known to be dead ends … and ‘freeway therapy,’ which is being transferred a long distance from home,” he said.

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