[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
50°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 24
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]


By Martin Macias Jr.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to freeze Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s internal review of cases in which officers were terminated or disciplined for misconduct over concerns the process lacks transparency and could erode public trust.

The board has criticized Villanueva for reinstating Caren Carl Mandoyan, an officer who was named in – though never convicted of – domestic violence charges in 2016, shortly after taking office.

The rehiring decision also sparked a county lawsuit seeking an emergency court order that Mandoyan turn in his badge and gun since the county considered him a terminated employee – but a judge refused to grant the order.

Villanueva continued to insist Mandoyan was still on the force, criticizing the county’s officer misconduct review process as flawed.

Supervisors expressed their frustration at a public meeting Tuesday and said Villanueva’s Truth and Reconciliation Panel could turn the clock back on officer oversight and accountability reforms.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the decision to rehire Mandoyan – who was accused of abusing a partner and trying to break into her home – sends a message to survivors of domestic violence that law enforcement will question the credibility of their stories.

“We don’t want that to be the prevailing message to survivors in the county,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, striking a conciliatory tone, said the board could settle the matter informally with the sheriff but that the county’s lawsuit is still pending.

Addressing Villanueva, she said, “We are willing to fight where we need to understand your legal authority. But we are also very willing to work with you.”

Villanueva told supervisors that his panel would like to review at least 400 officer termination cases in which evidence was not fully presented or the “context for conduct was not fully vetted.”

The sheriff said the uptick in officer terminations has mostly impacted officers of color and has impeded the department’s recruitment efforts since candidates fear they won’t be afforded due process.

“Procedural justice is a right that everyone should have access to,” Villanueva said. “We’re demanding from our employees that which isn’t given to them.”

The board approved Ridley-Thomas and Kuehl’s motion Tuesday instructing Villanueva to freeze his review process until the county can determine whether he can legally overturn rulings by the Civil Service Commission County Appeals Board, which handles officer misconduct.

It also calls for a county counsel report on the “legality” of Villanueva’s proposed panel and instructs the inspector general to report monthly to the board on the panel’s development.

The motion said Villanueva “has been acting unilaterally” and that the county counsel has “exclusive authority” over civil actions involving department officers and the sheriff.

“The lack of clarity around a process for making what appears to be swift and consequential decisions is concerning,” the motion said.

LA County Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff – who declined to grant the county’s request to order Mandoyan to turn in his badge and gun – said on March 6 that he could not rule on Villanueva’s legal authority to rehire Mandoyan until he received more information.

Villanueva said Tuesday that he has already put his panel’s process on hold until departmental oversight can review it.

He added that his department has submitted a “third draft” of his proposal for the scope of the review process – and that the panel has “vetted six cases but not presented them” – while also claiming the “panel is not in existence right now.”

County Interim Inspector General Rod Castro-Silva said his office only received a one-and-a-half page draft of the proposed review panel at the end of January, but that the Mandoyan reinstatement decision occurred much earlier.

“The decision was made at least by the end of December 2018,” Castro-Silva said. “And it was made by an ad hoc group of executives within the department that report directly to the sheriff.”

Castro-Silva said his office heard that Villanueva’s panel is considering reviewing at least 400 officer termination cases and that it has begun shutting down internal affairs investigations.

“By what process it is being done is unclear,” Castro-Silva said. “This department is playing a shell game of misinformation on this topic. The process, whatever it’s called, must be at a minimum transparent, objective and evidence-based.”

A department spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on whether internal affairs investigations have been postponed.

“From what we have seen, the Sheriff’s Truth and Reconciliation Panel is set up only to legitimize the reinstatement decisions the Sheriff himself has already made,” LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn said in a statement. “This Board has serious concerns about this panel and the effect it has already had on public trust in the Sheriff’s Department — especially among survivors of domestic abuse. I appreciate, however, the Sheriff’s stated willingness to work with us and I am hopeful he will reconsider this panel as well as the reinstatement of Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan.”

The over 17,000-member department provides services to a county of more than 10 million while also providing security at county courthouses and the county jail system, the largest in the country.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
    Thursday, May 23, 2019
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) announces the expansion of the State of California’s CalFresh Program to now serve older adults and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, beginning June 1, 2019.
    Thursday, May 23, 2019
    Three-hundred employees from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) volunteered their Saturday morning over Mother’s Day weekend to inspire hope at their annual “Help the Homeless” event at the Weingart Center in downtown L.A.
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019
    Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Elizabeth Espinosa is the newest partner with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Communications team, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Wednesday.
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019
    At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Civilian Oversight Commission for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department covered several topics including further review of LASD's Internal Administrative Investigations, a presentation on the Mental Evaluation Teams, and the approval of the Immigration Ad Hoc Committee Report.
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019
    Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's Conviction Review Unit has expanded its criteria for cases eligible for evaluation to include any felony conviction in which the defendant remains in custody, the DA's office said Wednesday.

    Keep Up With Our Facebook
    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]
    After one and a half hours inside a crumpled car, the last of two people trapped was freed from the wreckage.
    3 Hurt in Multi-Vehicle Stevenson Ranch Crash
    The city of Santa Clarita is excited to announce the winners of the 16th annual “Bike to Work Day” Challenge that took place on Thursday, May 16.
    City Announces Winners of ‘Bike to Work Day’ Challenge
    SACRAMENTO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified California on Wednesday that it is in full compliance with the federal REAL ID Act and regulation.
    DHS: California in Full Compliance with REAL ID Regulations
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) announces the expansion of the State of California’s CalFresh Program to now serve older adults and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, beginning June 1, 2019.
    CalFresh Expanding to Seniors, People with Disabilities Receiving SSI Benefits
    LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers will hold their annual Alumni Game on Saturday, June 1, as part of Alumni Weekend presented by Security Benefit, when the club will welcome back over 30 fan-favorite players to Dodger Stadium.
    More than 30 Fan Favorites to Take Part in Dodgers Alumni Weekend
    SCVi, iLEAD’s founding school, will welcome Dr. Jacob Cohen, Chief Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, to campus on Friday to kick off the school’s inaugural International Hack Into Space Competition, the school announced Thursday.
    May 24: SCVi Hosts Inaugural International Hack into Space Competition
    Three-hundred employees from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) volunteered their Saturday morning over Mother’s Day weekend to inspire hope at their annual “Help the Homeless” event at the Weingart Center in downtown L.A.
    County Employees Inspire Hope at Annual ‘Help the Homeless’ Event
    SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Thursday the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 219 (SB 219), a measure that will create a pilot program for foster youth to receive grants for extracurricular and enrichment activities.
    Wilk Legislation to Create Foster Youth Pilot Program Clears State Senate
    The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market will be celebrating their 4 year anniversary this Saturday, May 25, from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Old Town Newhall Library.
    May 25: Old Town Newhall Farmers Market 4 Year Anniversary Celebration
    Many people in our community have a parent or other family member who may be a veteran, who is presently deployed overseas, or who has recently returned home from active duty in the military.
    June 15: Pathways to Empowerment SC Veteran & Family Mental Health Day
    Robert Penalber is fairly confident that before long very little of what transpired on the course this week, or over the last four years for that matter, will be remembered.
    Penalbar Misses Cut at NAIA Nationals
    Well Q2 was removed from service after quarterly perchlorate sampling conducted on May 8, 2019, returned a result of 0.006 mg/L – which is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), where treatment becomes necessary or a supply needs to be removed from service. Q2 is located near the Lowe’s shopping center on the west side of Bouquet Canyon, just north of the Santa Clara River.
    Perchlorate Detected in Well Near Lowes Shopping Center
    WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Katie Hill serves as co-chair of the New Democrats’ Housing Task Force, which made public its goals for the 116th Congress on Wednesday. Hill serves alongside Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA) and Ben McAdams (D-UT).
    Hill to Address Homelessness, Housing Shortage with New Task Force
    The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a teleconference meeting Thursday, May 23, at 10:30 a.m.
    May 23: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
    WASHINGTON – As the summer vacation and travel seasons opens, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced Thursday that visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs.
    Visitor Spending at National Parks Contributed $40B to US Economy
    1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]
    American Theater
    Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Elizabeth Espinosa is the newest partner with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Communications team, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Wednesday.
    Emmy-Winner Espinosa Joins LA County Sheriff’s Communications Team
    Seven adults were arrested at a Valencia hotel Tuesday during an operation conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Taskforce and deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, authorities reported Wednesday afternoon.
    Prostitution Sting Leads to 7 Arrests in Valencia
    California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced the formation of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force and its co-chairs, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
    Newsom Forms Homeless, Housing Task Force Headed by Ridley-Thomas, Steinberg
    Lief Labs, a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements, hosted a field trip for approximately 80 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students from San Fernando Valley High School on Friday, May 17.
    Lief Labs Hosts Students Prepping for Careers in Biotech, Health Science, Medical Tech
    At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Civilian Oversight Commission for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department covered several topics including further review of LASD's Internal Administrative Investigations, a presentation on the Mental Evaluation Teams, and the approval of the Immigration Ad Hoc Committee Report.
    Oversight Panel Reviews LASD Internal Probes, ICE Cooperation
    The Lancaster JetHawks played for the first time since in four days Tuesday night, hanging on to edge the Inland Empire 66ers 2-1 at San Manuel Stadium.
    Lancaster JetHawks Return to Action, Edge Inland Empire 66ers
    Zoey White was four classes away from completing her animation degree at College of the Canyons when she decided to switch gears to study automotive technology instead.
    COC Student Shifts Gears, Speeds Toward Auto Tech Career
    The California Senate has approved Senate Bill 153, which would ensure California law is in full compliance with changes to federal law regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who introduced the bill, announced Wednesday.
    Wilk Hemp Bill Clears California Senate, Heads to Assembly
    Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's Conviction Review Unit has expanded its criteria for cases eligible for evaluation to include any felony conviction in which the defendant remains in custody, the DA's office said Wednesday.
    LA County DA Expands Conviction Review Criteria
    The SCV Veterans Memorial Committee and Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary will present Santa Clarita’s annual Memorial Day Tribute at the park in Newhall on Monday, May 27, starting at 10 a.m.
    May 27: Annual Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans at Eternal Valley
    Eternal Valley Memorial Park is inviting members of Santa Clarita Valley scout troops and packs, community volunteer groups and individual volunteers to place flags on veterans' graves on Saturday, May 25, in preparation for the Newhall park's annual Memorial Day Tribute on Monday, May 27.
    May 25: Call for Volunteers to Place Flags on Veterans’ Graves
    Los Angeles County supervisors, citing the same number of worrisome scientific studies that convinced them in March to place a 30-day ban on the use of glyphosate, have banned the controversial herbicide from being used by county work crews anywhere in the county.
    Supes Nix Use of Glyphosphate Herbicide by LA County Departments
    More than two dozen people had the opportunity Tuesday to tour the proposed Sand Canyon Resort project site, with the majority voicing concerns over open-space preservation.
    Visitors to Proposed Sand Canyon Resort Site Voice Concern Over Open Space
    The city of Santa Clarita is now accepting names to be included as part of the 2019 additions to the Youth Grove in Central Park, with a due date of June 30 for nominations.
    June 30: Central Park Youth Grove Nominations Due
    More residents died from air pollution in Los Angeles County in 2017 than in any other U.S. county, according to a new study released Wednesday, but nationally, the number of deaths and illnesses caused by smog has fallen dramatically in the last decade.
    Better Air Quality Has Saved Thousands of Lives, Study Finds
    From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
    Sheriff’s Deputies to Kick Off Summer with Holiday DUI Enforcement
    COBRA detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station reported Tuesday night that an estranged husband who allegedly kidnapped his wife from a Canyon Country location on April 9 is now in custody.
    LAPD Arrests Canyon Country Kidnapping Suspect in SFV
    The California Senate has approved Senate Bill 387, which would streamline how SCV Water Agency Board of Directors vacancies are to be handled, and the legislation will now go to the state Assembly for consideration.
    Wilk SCV Water Board Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Assembly
    Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies will take part in a bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operation in the city of Santa Clarita on Monday, May 27, between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    May 27: ‘Heads Up’ Bike, Pedestrian Safety Push in SCV
    %d bloggers like this: