Despite Histories of Serious Discipline, 2 L.A. Sheriff’s Officials Promoted to High Ranks

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. James Tatreau was promoted earlier this month to lead the Norwalk station. In 2008, he was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant after he authorized the use of a Taser on an inmate who became paralyzed. (Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)

In his 27 years at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, James Tatreau Jr. has made plenty of headlines — often for the wrong reasons.

As a lieutenant in Lakewood, he helped organize a contest among deputies to arrest the most people in a 24-hour period — a move that then-Sheriff Lee Baca publicly criticized.

In 2008, Tatreau authorized a deputy to fire a Taser at an inmate who then fell from a jail bunk, breaking his back and leaving him paralyzed. As a result, Tatreau was demoted and the county paid the inmate $4.25 million to settle a lawsuit.

A year later, a federal jury decided Tatreau and another deputy had used unreasonable force when they shot two armed men in Compton three years earlier.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Roosevelt Johnson was recently elevated from the Santa Clarita Valley station, where he was captain. He was given a month-long suspension for making false statements in 1999, according to documents reviewed by The Times. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)