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Sheriff Lee Baca allegedly retaliated against deputies supporting rival

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca (left) and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in an undated file photo.
October 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is under scrutiny for retaliating against department officials supporting his rival in next year's election.

Members of his own staff say they were transferred to other jobs after publicly backing former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

When Tanaka announced his run for Los Angeles County Sheriff in August, Capt. Louis Duran was there to shake his hand.

Duran says not long after that endorsement, Baca transferred him and removed him from his command.

"I got moved without cause, causing a monetary loss, all for the support of Paul Tanaka," said Duran.

He then filed a complaint claiming discrimination, harassment and retaliation by the sheriff's department.

The complaint itself doesn't show any specific evidence of retaliation. But Attorney Brad Gage says he's representing Duran and several sheriff's deputies with a similar story.

"You have approximately 11 different individuals who within days of showing public support for Mr. Tanaka were moved," said Gage, who is also claiming racial discrimination. "All of my clients are associated with Mr. Tanaka, who is an Asian man, and they've been discriminated against."

L.A. County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore is denying any retaliation on behalf of Baca.

"This is an election year and there are people that are going to do things to try to move forward their particular candidate," said Whitmore. "It's just expected."

The next election is in 2014.


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