SAN JOSE — The mayor of the Bay Area’s largest city is calling for the resignation of Sheriff Laurie Smith over her management of Santa Clara County’s jails, adding to a chorus of criticism of the sheriff’s office, including recent calls from county leaders for outside investigations into inmate abuse and neglect at the jails.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says revelations last week about multimillion-dollar payouts to settle major-injury litigation from mentally ill men in jail custody, sluggish reforms, his own knowledge of troubling jail practices, and ongoing bribery and corruption scandals besetting Smith have led him to demand the six-term sheriff leave office.
“It may not be obvious to her, but it’s painfully obvious to everyone else,” Liccardo said in an exclusive interview with this news organization. “Sheriff Smith must resign.”
The sheriff’s office did not respond to requests for comment Monday about the mayor’s declaration. The agency did, however, announce a Tuesday morning news conference at its headquarters to provide “an update of accuracy” in response to a county Board of Supervisors referral seeking external probes into the sheriff’s office by the state Attorney General and the county’s Civil Grand Jury.
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