Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Facing Civil Rights Violation Investigation

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
Sheriff Alex Villanueva

California DOJ to Investigate LASD

(CA) – It’s been a while in coming but the California Department of Justice has finally turned its eyes toward the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Villanueva. LASD, which is the largest Sheriff’s Department in our country, covers a lot of territory making their impact felt across a broad portion of California.

Unfortunately, this department, which has so much power, has been plagued with police misconduct that frequently comes in the form of abuse of power and excessive force, sometimes even deadly force. I don’t know why this investigation came about now, but according to NBC News, “The state will investigate a possible pattern of unconstitutional law enforcement.”

Abuse of Power by Police

Every law enforcement agency will get complaints. There will always be individuals who don’t feel they should have to face consequences for their actions. But the complaints against the LASD are excessive. Complaints of racial profiling are abundant, police brutality has become common place, and controversial killings continue to be reported. Take, for instance, the killing of Andres Guardado. The account given by the LASD and those given by witnesses are vastly different. Witnesses say Guardado did run, but then got down on his knees and put his hands in the air.

According to NBC News,

“Among the sheriff’s department’s most controversial killings was the shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado in June 2020. An independent autopsy released by his family in July said he was shot five times in the back.

Sheriff’s detectives had placed a security hold on the county coroner’s conclusions, and Villanueva defended the blackout as necessary to preserve the investigation’s integrity. But the coroner’s office launched a rare inquest that found Guardado’s death was a homicide. The deputy who shot him declined to testify in the inquest.”

Why would the LASD refuse to release the coroner’s report? Could it possibly be because that report shows that the bullets followed a downward trajectory which would add credibility to the claims that Guardado was on his knees? Or is there something else they don’t want us to know?

Deputy Gangs are Rampant at LASD

The LASD is so lawless that they have gangs of deputies that function in the same manner as street gangs. The police gangs have criteria to join that requires they hurt or kill someone. They have “inking parties” after an excessive force event so that the new member can receive his tattoo showing he is part of the gang.  And they have names for their gangs like the “Executioners.” ABC 7 has a good video, on one of their articles, about the deputy gangs that I highly recommend you watch.

In the video you will hear Sheriff Villanueva blow off the claim that gangs are a problem, contrary to what one of those gang members testifies to on the video. In fact, Sheriff Villanueva won’t even call them gangs. He says they’re just cliques. This is not only contrary to what the officer says under oath, it’s also not what the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy (CJLP) at LMU Loyola Law School has to say about police gangs at the LASD. The CJLP put out a very comprehensive report titled, 50 Years of Deputy Gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The report states that gangs do exist and that they “foster a culture of violence and escalate uses of force against community members, including fatal shootings.” Surprise, surprise, Sheriff Villanueva. That’s exactly what we’re seeing out of the LASD.

Previous Sheriff in Federal Prison

The title of the report by the CJLP shows that this is not a recent problem. In fact, the corruption is so ingrained that the previous sheriff, Lee Baca, is currently serving out his sentence in a federal prison. In that case, the FBI was investigating abuses against inmates at the Men’s Central Jail. The FBI had given a cell phone to an inmate who was acting as an informant. Deputies found the cell phone and were able to trace it back to the FBI. They then attempted to interfere with the investigation by “by concealing the inmate-turned- informant from federal prosecutors, who had issued a summons for his grand jury appearance.”

The LASD is so corrupt that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra seems to have doubts they will cooperate with the investigation and is hoping the public will come forward to help. According to ABC 7,

Becerra said he “hopes” the department cooperates in the probe. “We want to put word out to the public” for any useful, credible information that could be provided, Becerra said, adding that the probe is “very broad and wide-ranging.”

Becerra’s wording of “very broad and wide-ranging” signals that they are willing to go after the Sheriff’s Department hard and that they want EVERYTHING they can get on them. I hope this investigation is successful. The nest of snakes at the LASD needs to be rooted out.

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