The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 2010 hired 200 officers whose background checks showed “serious misconduct” – from harassing inmates to soliciting prostitutes – in previous law enforcement jobs, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The newspaper cited leaked documents, saying they provided a rare glimpse into hiring decisions at the nation’s largest sheriff’s department, which has been dogged in recent years by scandals related to deputy abuse and racially based profiling.
Of the 280 police the sheriff’s department hired after taking over the Los Angeles County police force in 2010, 200 had been rejected from other agencies “because of past misdeeds, failed entrance exams or other issues,” the newspaper reported Sunday.
Among those hired, 97 had reportedly shown evidence of lying on the job or in police records, and 92 had reportedly been disciplined for misconduct on duty.
The Los Angeles Times report said one officer, David McDonald, had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl when he was 28. McDonald, now 53, had also been disciplined for using physical force on an inmate, according to the newspaper.
A jailer was reportedly among 15 people flagged by background checkers for attempting to manipulate the results of a polygraph exam, the report said.
It said another jailer had reportedly shot at her husband with her service weapon after a domestic dispute.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had not responded to an interview request from Al Jazeera by the time of publication.
The department has occasionally come under public scrutiny, particularly in recent months.
In October, a federal court found Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca liable for neglecting to halt jail authorities from abusing inmates, at times with heavy flashlights. Later that month, a report from the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review called the department’s internal investigation into two-year-old allegations of inmate abuse “inadequate” and “slanted.”