University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Cecil 'Chip' Murray a part of Los Angeles County Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence

Image of Cecil 'Chip' Murray a part of Los Angeles County Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence

The Los Angeles County Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence released a report on Friday detailing patterns of abuse and 'unreasonable force' in the Sheriff Department's jails. The report places blame on Sheriff Lee Baca's leadership for failing to stop the ongoing uses of excessive force.

The county commission, which was created last year to examine allegations of jail abuse, are proposing over 60 reforms that include a new management, harsher penalties for excessive force and dishonesty, and the formation of an 'inspector general' position to keep future abuse in check.

The commission consists of the following members:

  • Lourdes G. Baird, a former state and federal court judge who served as U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles from 1990 to 1992.
  • The Rev. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray, former pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the most prominent African American churches in Los Angeles, and a senior fellow of USC's Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
  • Robert C. Bonner, a former federal court judge and U.S. attorney in Los Angeles who headed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from 1990 to 1993.
  • Alex Busansky, president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, an Oakland-based nonprofit, and a former attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice who prosecuted law enforcement officers for excessive force.
  • Jim McDonnell, chief of the Long Beach Police Department and former second-in-command at the Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Carlos R. Moreno, a former California Supreme Court justice who has also served as a federal court judge.
  • Dickran M. Tevrizian Jr., a former state and federal court judge who now works as a private mediator.
An L.A Times article describes in further detail the implications of the report and possible solutions to halt the current problems within the Los Angeles jail system.

Read an excerpt from the article:

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department needs top-to-bottom reforms to fix failures of leadership by Sheriff Lee Baca, who allowed excessive force by deputies to fester in his jails despite repeated warnings, a blue-ribbon commission concluded Friday.

“If a chief executive officer in private business had remained in the dark or ignored problems plaguing one of the company’s primary services for years, that company’s board of directors likely would not have hesitated to replace the CEO,” the commission wrote.

The release of the report is a major milestone in the jail-abuse scandal that erupted more than a year ago when The Times revealed that the FBI was secretly investigating the jails. Federal agents went so far as to smuggle a cellphone through a corrupt jailer to an inmate working as a confidential informant. Other allegations of abuse and mismanagement followed in subsequent months."