Twenty-some years ago, I was cutting out of church services early when my bishop’s wife caught me and invited me to her two-year-old’s birthday party. I had just moved to the Philadelphia area and didn’t really know anyone, so I opted for an evening with this family. That birthday party began a great friendship with an entire family.
Her: She blinded me with kindness.
Me: Do you mean, “She blinded me with science”?
Her: Oh, yeah. That.
Today, we found out about federal grand jury indictments against a whole bunch of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials, many working in the county’s jails. The Sheriff called it a “sad day” for his department. When you read two of the four indictments here and here I think you’ll find a lot of words other than “sad” to describe the situation.
These two grand jury indictments allege some of the accused hampered the federal investigation after the Sheriff’s Department discovered an inmate was working as a federal informant. According to the indictment, the sheriffs moved the inmate, changed his name, and changed a database to say the inmate had been released in order to hide the inmate from federal investigators.
They also say the accused told one of the lead FBI agents they were in the process of getting a warrant for her arrest. They did this when they confronted her outside her home.
Then, there’s this allegation, that on three separate occasions, a sheriff’s sergeant encouraged deputies he supervised to use excessive force and unlawful arrests of visitors at Men’s Central Jail. And I won’t even go into the allegation of how they arrested a diplomat for asking a question.
Did I mention that many of the accused worked in either “Operation Safe Jails,” a program described as “tasked with conducting investigations within the Los Angeles County Jails” or the “Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau,” which “was tasked with investigating allegations of local crimes committed by the LASD’s personnel”?
Yep, you can’t make this up.
So yeah, there’s nothing “sad” about these allegations. They are infuriating and scary and shameful.
Every family has secrets. Some are bigger than others. The ones I’m concerned with here are the ones designed to keep the daily emotional peace.
You know the type. It’s like the one where I tell my sister not to tell my mother that I’ve gone skydiving or otherwise engaged in adventuresome behavior, because my mom doesn’t get a say in my choice of activities, and I don’t want to have to fight about that, yet again.
It’s like the one where my wife doesn’t tell her mom when people she distantly remembers die, because her mom will worry incessantly about whether she’s next.
Perhaps most amusing about these secrets is what they sound like when their rules are broken. A friend yesterday described it best when retelling this conversation with her dad, who lives half a world away:
Dad: Honey, I’m so sick, I don’t know if I’ll survive.
Friend: Dad, have mom take you to the hospital
Dad: I can’t, she told me not to tell you because you’d worry. So, don’t tell her I told you.