Sheriff Laurie Smith’s incompetence, indifference and defiance continues to cost Santa Clara County taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and endanger jail inmates’ lives.

Smith keeps stalling an agreement to establish a civilian watchdog to audit her office’s law enforcement practices and management of the county jails. The sheriff, acting as if she is above the law, continues to essentially thumb her nose at county supervisors and the community.

She needs to be removed from office — either through the courts or by the voters next year.

Meanwhile, the cases of abusive practices keep mounting.

Six years ago, jail guards fatally beat inmate Michael Tyree, who was bipolar. According to prosecutors, it was punishment for mouthing off to a jail nurse earlier in the evening. The county settled a lawsuit filed by Tyree’s family for $3.6 million. Then, three correctional officers were convicted of second-degree murder. Murder. Committed by guards under Smith’s command.

“This tragic incident has served as a catalyst in our ongoing progressive efforts within our custody bureau,” the sheriff claimed after the 2017 verdict. Instead, the abuse has continued.

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