Grand jury indicts LA sheriff's officials over long-running investigation into inmate abuse

LA County SheriffREUTERS/Patrick FallonWith LA City hall on the horizon, LA County Sheriff Deputies with rifles and shotguns keep watch outside of the Twin Towers Jail in response to a unconfirmed sighting by a civilian employee of Christopher Dorner in Los Angeles, California February 8, 2013.

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Los Angeles County undersheriff and a retired captain in connection with a long-running probe of inmate abuse and corruption, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.

The Times said former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is currently the Mayor of the Los Angeles-area city of Gardena, and former Captain William Carey had surrendered to law enforcement, citing an unnamed source.

It did not specify the charges against the two men, but said the indictment would be announced on Thursday. A news conference was scheduled for later on Thursday morning.

Reuters could not independently verify the report, and Tanaka and Carey could not be immediately reached for comment. But Tanaka’s lawyer told the Times he would aggressively defend his client.

“After all the facts come to light, we are confident he will be exonerated of any wrongdoing,” attorney H. Dean Steward said.

Indictments unsealed in December 2013 accused sheriff’s deputies of subjecting inmates and visitors at two downtown Los Angeles lockups to unjustified beatings or detentions and of trying to cover up wrongdoing.

The indictment said several officers went so far as to try to prevent contact between federal investigators and an inmate informant after his cover was blown by altering records to make it appear the informant had been released from jail and then re-booking him under false names.

The highest-ranking officials charged in that probe were two lieutenants in the sheriff’s department, who were among seven officials convicted of various charges last year.

The sheriff’s department is responsible for managing the Los Angeles County jail system, which houses some 22,000 inmates and is the largest in the nation.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Lambert)

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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