Statements

Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
Leaked Grand Jury Investigation 1024 249 SIB Staff

Leaked Grand Jury Investigation

STATEMENT REGARDING “LEAKED” GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION

August 8, 2022

On Thursday, August 4, 2022, the Sheriff’s Department received notification of a criminal grand jury subpoena for records regarding a use of force incident in the San Fernando Court lockup from March of 2021.

Any allegation of misconduct is of deep concern to the department, and this one is no exception.  Hence, we are conducting a thorough internal investigation, and we are fully cooperating with this subpoena.

To date, our investigation indicates that the allegation of misconduct was orchestrated by involved Department executives to falsely portray themselves as whistleblowers in order to avoid discipline, up to and including termination.  The District Attorney has been given this and all other relevant information. 

https://lasd.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Post_REDACTED_Timeline_Memo_SanFernando_UOF_050122.pdf

https://lasd.org/sheriff-villanueva-discusses-recent-allegations-of-an-alleged-cover-up-involving-department-personnel/

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
LASD Undersheriff Robert Allen Edmonds 1024 249 SIB Staff

LASD Undersheriff Robert Allen Edmonds

Today, we were deeply saddened to hear former LASD Undersheriff Robert Allen Edmonds passed away.  He was “recruited” to the Department by a Lennox Station Detective when Edmonds, an Assistant Manager for Safeway at the time, went to report bad checks received.

He became a Deputy after graduating from class #87 in 1961. Throughout his career, Robert steadily rose up through the ranks as a Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Commander, Assistant Sheriff and ultimately, Undersheriff in 1987. Robert Allen Edmonds worked during the Watts Riots, the Cerritos air crash, the 1984 Olympics, and several other large scale incidents.  He was known for bolstering the Sheriff’s Department explorer program, operations planning for large scale disasters and events, as well as overseeing the department’s transition from paper logs to the first digitized computer system.

After 32 years in the Sheriff’s Department, Undersheriff Robert Allen Edmonds retired in 1994. He was a true leader who inspired and motivated others to strive for the best when serving the community. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has suffered a great loss and he will be greatly missed.

Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
REMOVING THE SHERIFF BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY 1024 249 SIB Staff

REMOVING THE SHERIFF BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

OPTIONS FOR REMOVING THE SHERIFF… BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, INCLUDING ABUSE OF THE SUBPOENA PROCESS AND POLITICAL THEATER

April 4, 2022

On October 27, 2020, a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has since been indicted on 20 counts of public corruption, ordered County Counsel, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC), and “justice advocates” to pursue:

  1. Options for removing or impeaching the Los Angeles County Sheriff, including any necessary changes to the County Charter or County Code.
  2. Legislative changes required to authorize an appointed Sheriff, including the path and timeline required to amend the California Constitution and Los Angeles County Charter as needed.
  3. Legislative changes required to potentially remove certain existing responsibilities of the Sheriff, such as municipal law enforcement services and court services, as well as the authority of the County Board of Supervisors to appoint a County Sheriff.
  4. Any other mitigation measures that could be taken to curtail the Sheriff’s resistance to transparency, accountability, and the faithful performance of duties for the benefit of the residents of the County.

Since then, every move these entities have made involving the Sheriff’s Department has been part of a coordinated effort to achieve this goal.  Today, the Court ruled on one of these coordinated efforts which has been weaponized regarding subpoena appearances.  There are still many unanswered questions, and we will appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal.

It is important to realize the OIG and the COC receive regular updates as to their information requests and have received thousands upon thousands of documents to inform them regarding oversight. These subpoenas are political theater and if successful, I will be the first elected official subjected to this heavy-handed abuse of power, in the State of California.  I seek a remedy in the appellate court to establish a fair process going forward where the rules and standards are clear for all sheriffs and Boards of Supervisors throughout the state in dealing with the new transparency laws should they find themselves in similar disagreement.

I remain committed to transparency and accountability, but under a process which is constitutionally sound, and not a political weapon to attack others, so I will appeal this to the court of appeal and await the outcome.  In the meantime, I will be happy to engage in another public discussion on the issues, if the true motive is informing the public.

SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA

Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
COC announces another investigation in to Deputy Gangs 1024 249 SIB Staff

COC announces another investigation in to Deputy Gangs

Today, the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC) announced it was launching a “Full-Scale Investigation into Deputy Gangs.” The problem with their announcement is the COC and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) already launched that investigation, almost three-years ago. In all that time, not one deputy “gang member” has been identified.Then in October 2020, the Board of Supervisors (Board) voted (3-2) to explore “Options for Removing the Sheriff… or strip him of authority.”

The same Board who appointed both the OIG and COC (although former Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas has since been replaced and is now federally indicted for 20-counts of Public Corruption).Almost 6,000 pages were provided to the OIG on this subject almost a year ago, and LASD.org has an entire webpage dedicated to this topic. There is nothing new. Not ONE of my personnel has been named by the Board, OIG, or COC as violating 13670 PC, yet almost all continue to lie to the public and create a “straw man” argument, based on bias not facts or the law. There are no facts to present, just a “fishing expedition” and political theater.

The law clearly states, “”Law enforcement gang” means a group of peace officers within a law enforcement agency who may identify themselves by a name and may be associated with an identifying symbol, including, but not limited to, matching tattoos, and who engage in a pattern of on-duty behavior that intentionally violates the law or fundamental principles of professional policing” must exist. As I have previously stated, “I openly challenge every elected leader, or their appointees, to provide facts to me and name individuals who they can prove are “gang members,” as defined by California Penal Code section 13670” (a law I sponsored and was based on existing LASD policy). Not one elected official, or their political appointees, have provided me even one name.

I await whatever new FACTUAL information they can provide. I can see this for what it is, the weaponization of government in order to influence the outcome of an election, nothing more.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

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Board of supervisors vote to terminate approximately 4000 LASD personnel 1024 249 SIB Staff

Board of supervisors vote to terminate approximately 4000 LASD personnel

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS VOTE TO TERMINATE APPROXIMATELY 4,000 LASD PERSONNEL DURING A TIME WHEN MURDERS HAVE INCREASED OVER 94% AND THERE IS A HIRING FREEZE IN THE DEPARTMENT

February 8, 2022

Today the Board of Supervisors followed through on their threat and voted 4-0 (1 abstention) to form a suicide pact and start the process to fire 4,000 deputies for not being vaccinated.  Showing deliberate indifference to the obvious impact on public safety, the Board hid behind an alleged threat to public safety they couldn’t back up with data.  Tellingly, the Board’s own County Counsel (Rodrigo Castro-Silva) couldn’t offer even a basic legal opinion on the legality of the Board’s motion, or the obvious legal challenges they will face.

The Board, who ignored the comments made by thousands of their constituents today during their meeting, is now seeking to fire the very same personnel who were forced to work in person, exposing themselves to the COVID-19 virus when there was no vaccine, while the Supervisors and most of the workforce were telecommuting from the comfort and safety of their own homes.  Supervisor Kuehl falsely asserted in her motion that LASD employees represented 74% of infected County employees, ignoring the simple fact most infections were during pre-vaccine availability.

This moral failure of leadership represents a curious backtracking of their position on the authority of the Human Resources Director to override the authority of the sheriff.  At the beginning of my tenure they claimed I did not have the authority to hire and fire my workforce.  Now they are claiming the opposite and need to remove that delegated authority from me!

It is important to remember Department personnel who chose not to vaccinate are required to submit to weekly COVID testing, and have committed no administrative offense.

This is nothing more than another politically motivated stunt by the Board, which has no bearing on public health, but will definitely harm public safety.

Alex Villanueva

Sheriff

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IMMINENT THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY 1024 249 SIB Staff

IMMINENT THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY

IMMINENT THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY

October 28, 2021

As homicides continued to rise, the Board of Supervisors voted to require all Los Angeles County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face discipline, up to and including termination. 

The Board’s vaccination mandate is causing a mass exodus within the Department, which is an absolutely absurd result.  I have repeatedly stated the dangers to public safety when 20%-30% of my workforce is no longer available to provide service, and those dangers are quickly becoming a reality.  We are experiencing an increase in unscheduled retirements, worker compensation claims, employees quitting, and a reduction in qualified applicants.  As a result, homicide rates will continue to rise, response times will increase, solve rates will diminish, arrests will decline, patrol services will significantly decline, and patrol stations will close. 

A large part of our workforce who is close to retirement finds it easier to simply retire, than be forced into a decision which should be a personal choice.  Other personnel who were called “heroes” for diligently working in service to the community during the pandemic, while other professions stayed home, have decided to finally get those surgeries they have been putting off for injuries sustained throughout their careers (knees, shoulders, back, etc.). 

This unintended consequence to public safety was predictable.  In the near future, unless something changes, the “defunded” and “de-staffed” Sheriff’s Department will no longer be able to sustain the staffing levels required to maintain public safety at the status quo.

My personnel already wear masks and would submit to routine COVID-19 testing, so termination makes no sense. 

Personally, I am vaccinated and believe the vaccine works, but the choice to receive the vaccine is a personal one, and an individual who served the community tirelessly before there was a vaccine should not now be fired because they made a decision about their own body.

If you have an opinion on this matter, please call the Board of Supervisors and voice it.  With the pandemic diminishing, there is no justification for the Board mandate; it is like putting up the storm windows after the storm has passed. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

See my Response letter regarding the matter here.

Voice your concerns with your district supervisor

Name and numbers of the Board of supervisors.
Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
SUBPOENAS UNDER AB 1185 1024 249 SIB Staff

SUBPOENAS UNDER AB 1185

SUBPOENAS UNDER AB 1185

October 20, 2021

Tomorrow, neither I nor my Undersheriff will appear under oath before the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC), due to pending legal concerns which have yet to make their way through the courts regarding the scope and authority of the new law concerning oversight.  This is a matter which must be given time to make its way through the legal system.  A conflict of interest has existed between myself and the Board of Supervisors for some time now, and through their appointed commissioners they have vilified me for using the legal system to clarify the many areas which are undefined and unclear in the subpoena process.  Rather than allow due process to work, the Board’s commissioners further clog the system with unnecessary actions, in an effort to delegitimize both myself and my department.

There was no need for subpoenas. I agreed to appear voluntarily, at minimum, 3 times per year, and have already done so.  The COC does not extend the courtesy of checking with my schedule or even sending a special request to appear, they just issue subpoenas.  Although they have subpoena power, it is an abuse of power to simply use it to demand I show up and then testify under oath. There is no current investigation.  They are not a legislative body.  They have no authority over a duly elected sheriff, other than oversight. They are there to offer advice, not interrogate.  I have freely answered questions in the past, so why now do they want to interrogate me under oath in an adversarial setting?

Tomorrow’s COC meeting will be filled with the same rancorous politically motivated rhetoric as usual.  As they grandstand and gaslight, remember these are the same BOS appointees who voted unanimously for my resignation, with zero evidence of misconduct, yet have been deafeningly silent regarding the federal indictment of former Chair of the Board of Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas for 20 counts of public corruption.  The same Mark Ridley-Thomas who appointed most of the commissioners to their positions on the COC.  The same Mark Ridley-Thomas who called for my resignation, then authored a Board motion ordering County Counsel to explore ways to overturn the results of the election and remove me from office.  One COC commissioner, personally appointed by Mark Ridley-Thomas, actually led a “citywide prayer service” in support of Mark Ridley-Thomas this past weekend.  With his indictment, a new light has been shed on his, and his surrogates, obsession towards my removal from office.

The COC will condemn me loudly for pursuing the legitimate legal process that any Sheriff would avail themselves.  Yet, this same COC chose not to honor a continuance of their subpoenas in order for the Undersheriff and I to retain independent counsel, after current County Counsel Rodrigo Castro-Silva was notified of a clear conflict of interest. Unfortunately, at times the Board of Supervisors’ interests and the Sheriff’s interests will be at odds and the Board will infringe and interfere on the authority of the sheriff. The law provides for these differences and I am seeking clarity, as is appropriate under the circumstances. 

Do not be deceived by their politically motivated rhetoric. Understand and know this department provides requests for information to the COC and Office of the Inspector General. Please visit our tracker on the LASD.org website. OIG and COC receive regular updates as to their information requests and have received thousands upon thousands of documents to inform them regarding oversight. These subpoenas are political theater and once the courts rule on the issues at hand, it will be seen by all for what it was. I remain committed to transparency and accountability, but under a process which is constitutionally sound, and not a political weapon to attack others. I seek a remedy in the court in an effort to establish a fair process going forward where the rules and standards are clear for all sheriffs and Boards of Supervisors throughout the state in dealing with the new transparency laws should they find themselves in similar disagreement.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE vs “VACCINE MANDATE POLICE” 1024 249 SIB Staff

VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE vs “VACCINE MANDATE POLICE”

VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE vs “VACCINE MANDATE POLICE”

October 8, 2021

In Los Angeles County we have a Board of Supervisors who repeatedly call to empty the jails and release felons back onto the streets; a District Attorney who refuses to prosecute many misdemeanors and has effectively de-criminalized a myriad of crimes through his special directives; a homeless problem in excess of 80K which continues to grow without solutions; a 54% increase in homicides; and all this occurred as LASD was defunded and stripped of 1,400 positions. 

These reckless actions in the name of “woke-ism” have real-world consequences and public safety continues to suffer as a result.  Continuing to defund LASD when there is a $2 billion surplus forces us to make tough choices regarding the allocation of resources. When a decision must be made between responding to a violent felony in progress or serving as the “vaccine mandate police,” the choice is simple. 

The Department will continue requiring all of our employees to register with the Fulgent system but will only seek voluntary compliance and testing for the unvaccinated.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
POLICE REFORM LEGISLATION – AB 958 1024 249 SIB Staff

POLICE REFORM LEGISLATION – AB 958

POLICE REFORM LEGISLATION – AB 958

October 1, 2021

Yesterday, AB 958 was signed into law!  I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation, which is based on the current Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policy I implemented in February 2020.  

Our current Department policy is consistent with this new law and is already being enforced.  This law will serve to foster organizational change and hold employees to a higher standard of conduct.  We must remain hyper vigilant that benign subgroups do not devolve into cliques that may dishonor the badge. 

I thank Assemblymember Mike Gipson for championing this legislation and Governor Gavin Newsom for signing it into law.

Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MISSUSE OF CORONER INQUESTS 1024 249 SIB Staff

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MISSUSE OF CORONER INQUESTS

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MISSUSE OF CORONER INQUESTS

Amended October 5, 2021

The Board of Supervisors (Board) has voted to open a coroner inquest on three Deputy-Involved Shooting (DIS) cases (Mr. Dana Mitchell “Malik” Young, Jr., Mr. Samuel Herrera, Jr. and Mr. Dijon Kizzee).  What is difficult to understand is for what logical reason. 

All completed internal criminal investigations are submitted to the Office of the District Attorney – Justice System Integrity Division (JSID), as well the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Going forward, my intent is to share force investigations handled by the Homicide Bureau with OIG, shortly after they are given to JSID, unless JSID objects to preserve the integrity of the investigation, or on the following grounds: (1) disclosure would endanger the safety of a person involved in the investigation; (2) the completion of the active criminal investigation would be jeopardized; or (3) the privacy interest outweighs the interests of the disclosure.

Additionally, all three of these cases have been publicly posted for some time at LASD.ORG with the official finalized coroner reports, incident summaries, and names of involved deputies.  In the case of Mr. Kizzee, video footage of the DIS and video of the press conference are also available to the public.

Note: Due to the Board’s funding delay tactics, the Department was not yet equipped with body-worn cameras (BWC) at the time of these incidents, therefore no BWC footage exists.   

A coroner inquest can only address the question of circumstance, manner, and cause of death.  In all three of these cases, those questions have already been determined and the cases are with JSID to decide if the deputies’ actions were lawful.  

Although a coroner inquest may provide for good political theater from which to launch political attacks, this will be a colossal waste of tax dollars and will not provide one single shred of new information.  Additionally, these actions may serve to jeopardize any criminal case which could be determined by JSID.  

The Board should address the real problem; why does it take so many years for JSID to make a decision as to the lawfulness of each DIS?  I have already publicly called on the DA to issue a letter of opinion on each DIS within 90 days of the case being submitted, and I ask the Board to join me.

All loss of life is tragic and our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Young, Mr. Herrera, and Mr. Kizzee.  It is painful to see the Board exploit tragedies for their political agenda.