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MTA security guards accused of misconduct

May 18, 2009 |  9:05 am

Los Angeles commuters have been pushed, choked, struck and improperly detained by Metropolitan Transportation Authority security guards, according to interviews and internal law enforcement memos obtained by The Times.

Alleged assaults over the last two years have prompted at least 11 investigations by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, which has repeatedly complained to MTA officials about abusive security officers, as the guards are called within the MTA.

Three incidents were captured on surveillance cameras at subway and light-rail stations.

Although the 97 MTA security guards carry guns, batons and pepper spray, they are not legally authorized to act as law enforcement officers. Their main responsibilities are protecting MTA property, guarding revenues and closing subway stations when daily service ends.

"They are not meant to be acting as police officers," said Sheriff's Cmdr. Dan Finkelstein, who oversees the department's transit bureau, which has a contract with the MTA to police local rails and buses. " 'Observe and report' here has become 'observe and take action.' "

Read the rest of the story here.

-- Richard Winton