Ex-L.A. Undersheriff|Gets Five-Year Sentence

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Former Los Angeles undersheriff Paul Tanaka was sentenced to five years in federal prison Monday for obstructing an investigation into brutality in the county jail system.
     Tanaka, 57, was convicted by a jury in April after standing trial on charges that he obstructed an investigation into deputy-on-inmate abuse at the Men’s Central and Twin Towers jails in Los Angeles.
     At the Monday morning hearing, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson castigated the former second-in-command for abusing the public’s trust and said the official had “perpetrated an environment of excessive deputy conduct.”
     In addition to 60 months behind bars, Judge Anderson also ordered Tanaka to pay a $7,500 fine and sentenced the former law enforcement officer to two years of supervised released. He will begin his sentence on Aug. 1.
     Tanaka was accused of conspiring to hide informant Anthony Brown within the jail system, and threatening the arrest of an FBI agent investigating the two downtown jail complexes.
     In a prepared statement, U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker called Tanaka the “ringleader” of a scheme to obstruct the FBI probe and said he was “responsible for a culture that unfortunately led to the widespread abuse of inmates.”
     “Mr. Tanaka was the ringleader and the driving force behind a plot that concealed an FBI informant, tampered with witnesses and led to the threatened arrest of an FBI agent for doing nothing more than her job,” Decker said.
     During a 10-day trial earlier this year, jurors heard that Tanaka — who, before his 2013 retirement, was Sheriff Leroy Baca’s second-in-command — ignored jail violence and other acts of officer misconduct.
     Over hours of testimony during the trial, Tanaka, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, said that he had never violated a law or policy at the sheriff’s department.
     “I had no tolerance for deputies who wore a badge and violated the law,” Tanaka said.
     Ten department officials have been convicted for their part in the obstruction scheme, including former Sheriff Baca, who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in Anderson’s courtroom in February.
     Baca will appear in court for sentencing on July 11.

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