Dignity and Power Now, a Los Angeles-based grassroots organization that advocates for incarcerated people, their families and communities, just launched Theproblematic.org, a website aimed at promoting accountability and transparency for L.A. County sheriff’s deputies who are accused of committing serious misconduct.
The site, which launched on July 24, draws on information from news sources, public records and accounts from alleged survivors with the goal of cataloging every deputy with an alleged history misconduct such as unwarranted violence and falsifying evidence.
“A lack of transparency is one of the biggest challenges in improving law enforcement conditions for our communities,” says Dignity and Power Now’s Michele Ynfante. “There is no way to determine if a situation was handled appropriately if only high-level sheriff employees have access to records and the results of an investigation. This secrecy jeopardizes the safety of the community—specifically Black and Brown communities that are disproportionately policed and imprisoned.”
Dignity and Power Now started the project in response to a California District Court of Appeals decision in June that blocked L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell from providing prosecutors with the personnel files of 300 deputies with histories of misconduct.
In L.A. County 12 different actions are defined as serious misconduct, including lethal force and tampering with evidence. Theproblematic.org also solicits tips from alleged victims and offers solutions for improved accountability.
“We shouldn’t and can’t place blind trust in the sheriff’s internal disciplinary systems to do their jobs,” continues Ynfante. “It’s been proven again and again that Bonnie cannot objectively investigate Clyde.”