|Happier times...with Sheriff Lee Baca here in Cerritos (at Chipolte for GOD SAKES!) eons ago.|
In a downtown Los Angeles courtroom today, Lee Baca admitted to lying twice about his involvement in hiding a jail inmate from FBI investigators.
I have reported on Lee Baca since 1981 when I was the City Editor of the Norwalk Herald American Newspaper and he was working as the Watch Commander over on Civic Center Drive and Manuel Salinas Avenue.
I consider Lee Baca to be a wonderful friend of mine.
So today I find myself in sort of a news fog.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that..... "Baca also admitted that he lied when he said that he was unaware that his subordinates planned to approach an FBI special agent at her home. Baca directed the subordinates to approach the agent, stating that they should "do everything but put handcuffs" on her, the agreement said.
As part of the plea deal, Baca appears that he will indeed have to do some jail time. What? Jail time? Seriously?
This Lee Baca isn't like the Lee Baca, I have known since I was 21 years of age and fresh out of Journalism school from Utah State University and Cerritos College.
The Lee Baca I know is a deeply religious, compassionate "Man of God."
Lee and I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours together over my lifetime, so today I am saddened by his guilty plea, but I am also reminded that no one is ABOVE the LAW...especially those who carry a badge and who are charged with keeping the bad guys in hand cuffs and not the other way around.
I have been with Lee eating Mexican food on Claretta Avenue in one of the most dangerous barrios in Southern California. I have seen him on his worst days of his career as well as some of his happiest moments like the night he was elected as Sheriff of Los Angeles County.
Baca had that "thing" that so many in law enforcement strive to grasp .. a "star quality" that is rare to find these days across America.
I will be more than glad to share my thoughts with ANY MEDIA outlet in the WORLD about Lee Baca, and while I am stunned about his guilty plea. I am NOT SURPRISE this took place.