AUSTREBERTO GONZALEZ’S LAWSUIT CLAIMING “DEPUTY GANGS” AT HIS STATION IS THROWN OUT OF COURT
November 5, 2021
On November 4, 2021, Judge William F. Fahey dismissed with prejudice the case brought against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department by Deputy Austreberto Gonzalez due to lack of evidence and absence of triable facts. The Court also highlighted Mr. Gonzalez “may not contradict his deposition testimony by proffering different testimony in a later declaration.”
The unproven allegations in this case alleging “deputy gangs” by Mr. Gonzalez have been used as the primary basis for attacks on the Department by some members of the Board of Supervisors, a former member of the Board of Supervisors (who has been indicted for public corruption), the Office of the Inspector General, the Civilian Oversight Commission, other elected officials, and the media. Their statements have been presented as “facts” in reports by RAND, the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, and Knock LA. The LA Times alone has referenced these unsubstantiated allegations in at least a dozen articles. These writings have served to attack and undermine the perceived credibility and legitimacy of our organization, even though they were based on what we now know to be an uncredible source. I predict not one of these entities will amend or correct their work, but as John Adams once stated, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
In addition to having his case thrown out of court for lack of evidence, absence of triable facts, and impeaching his own testimony, Mr. Gonzalez and his attorneys were additionally sanctioned monetarily by the Court for their failure to comply with orders of the Court.
At this time, the Department is unable to provide any further information on Mr. Gonzalez, other than he remains on paid leave. As Sheriff, I have remained focused on providing our communities with transparent and truthful information. I am deeply concerned to hear that after all of the facts in this case were uncovered, Mr. Gonzalez, as one of my deputies, may have supplied incomplete or misleading information to the legal system, as noted in the Court’s ruling, and appropriate measures will be taken so that we continue to assure our communities deputy sheriffs can, and must, be trusted. (see full Court Order)
I remain committed to transparency and accountability and almost two-years ago I became the first Los Angeles County Sheriff in history to successfully implement a policy banning “deputy cliques.” Recently, AB 958 was signed into law, a bill I sponsored based on the current LASD policy, which will now be the model policy for all law enforcement in our state.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva