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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
79°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 17
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]
William Chormicle


By Martin Macias Jr.

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A body tasked with oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that Sheriff Alex Villanueva failed to properly explain and document his decision to halt investigations into officer misconduct.

The incidents of misconduct under investigation by county investigators range from officers sleeping on the job and being involved in traffic accidents to officers sexually assaulting jail inmates and abusing children.

While department policy allows for some misconduct probes to be inactivated – in cases where the officer resigns or retires or when the complaint is withdrawn, for example – Villanueva’s decision to halt the investigations raised concerns from officials.

Villanueva has locked horns with county leaders in recent months, most notably for his decision to reinstate officer Caren Carl Mandoyan. Mandoyan faced but was never convicted of domestic violence charges in 2016.

After being elected on a reformist platform and backed by dozens of LA community organizations, Villanueva drew backlash after claiming Mandoyan was wrongfully fired under a departmental process that terminates or disciplines officers for misconduct.

In January, Villanueva told the county Board of Supervisors that his “truth and reconciliation” panel would review as many as 400 cases where officers’ “exculpatory evidence” was ignored by county investigators.

The board responded by voting to freeze Villanueva’s internal review over concerns that it would turn the clock back on officer oversight and accountability reforms.

But Villanueva had already kicked off his internal review, issuing a December 2018 “verbal directive” that department brass should identify misconduct investigations that should be inactivated without any determinations being made, a county inspector general report said.

Out of 45 investigations that the department inactivated earlier this year, 31 were closed for reasons that don’t conform to department policy, according to the report dated April 11. By comparison, only 10 cases were inactivated in the final quarter of 2018.

The inspector general’s report describes an incident where a lieutenant endorsed blank checks from a department fund but was not disciplined. The probe was closed, which means no findings are publicly available.

Villanueva also inactivated a probe of an officer suspected of forcing a female jail inmate to perform oral sex in two separate incidents. The department never initiated an administrative investigation into the case.

At a hearing Tuesday, members of the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission took issue with Villanueva’s failure to identify the specific policy he used to inactivate the probes.

Commission chair Patricia Giggans said Villanueva’s actions could lead to a breakdown of public trust and a culture of impunity.

“It’s critical that policies be followed, otherwise it gives deputies the impression that no matter what you do it’s about who you know when it comes to accountability,” Giggans said. “It gives the public the impression that there is a thumb on the scale of justice.”

Deputy inspector general Bita Shasty told commissioners information from inactivated misconduct probes would not be subject to disclosure under Senate Bill 1421 because they concluded without any findings or determinations.

The bill, which took effect Jan. 1, opens up access to personnel records on incidents of police shootings, excessive force or sexual assaults by officers.

“I think it’s troubling that the public wouldn’t be able to access this info,” said commissioner Priscilla Ocen.

The commissioners said they would consider subpoenaing Villanueva for documents pertaining to the inactivation policy.

A spokesperson for Villanueva did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In March, the sheriff told county board members that his “truth and reconciliation” review was on hold. Last week, he said he acting to protect the department from liability by ending investigations that exceeded the statute of limitations or violated the officer’s due process rights.

“The department has acted responsibly in dealing with such personnel matters, and we continue to work to mediate the concerns of the Board of Supervisors,” Villanueva said in a statement, adding that the department “would never take any action that would jeopardize our communities.”

Villanueva’s decision to rehire officer Mandoyan prompted the supervisors to sue, claiming Villanueva acted outside the scope of his authority. The board sought an emergency order forcing Mandoyan to return his badge, gun and other county property.

But a California judge denied the county’s request and set a June 26 hearing in the matter.

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.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Top 10 Tips to Make this a Great Fourth of July in SCV
Fourth of July 2019 is only a few weeks away and, as you begin to make plans to celebrate, do not forget about all the fun activities that are happening throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Two Airlifted from Crash After Truck Plunges into Ravine
Two people were airlifted to the hospital Monday afternoon after being plucked from a ravine where their box truck plunged into the dry creek bed near Agua Dulce.
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Rainbow Flag Flies Over Capitol for LGBTQ Pride Month
Marking June as LGBTQ Pride Month, the Pride flag is being flown on the main flagpole of the State Capitol building​ through July 1 ​for the first time in state history.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is back, and continuing an expanded season with Summer Theatre Festival 2019 events through August.
Shakespeare Festival Sets 2019 Summer Theatre Events
In her latest "Director's Blog" entry, Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control Director Marcia Mayeda offers information about pet aging and tips senior pet care.
County Animal Care Director Offers Tips for Senior Pet Care
Fourth of July 2019 is only a few weeks away and, as you begin to make plans to celebrate, do not forget about all the fun activities that are happening throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Top 10 Tips to Make this a Great Fourth of July in SCV
The Public Outreach and Legislation Committee of SCV Water is scheduled to meet next on Thursday, June 20, at 5:30 p.m.
June 20: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee Meeting
The nonprofit Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging will host its annual assembly at the new Bella Vida senior center in Canyon Country on Thursday, June 20, starting at 5 p.m.
June 20: Annual Assembly at Bella Vida Senior Center
Two people were airlifted to the hospital Monday afternoon after being plucked from a ravine where their box truck plunged into the dry creek bed near Agua Dulce.
Two Airlifted from Crash After Truck Plunges into Ravine
The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set to approve its 2019-20 budget at a special meeting on Wednesday, June 19, at 7:45 a.m.
Hart Board Set to OK 2019-20 Budget at June 19 Special Meeting
Marking June as LGBTQ Pride Month, the Pride flag is being flown on the main flagpole of the State Capitol building​ through July 1 ​for the first time in state history.
Rainbow Flag Flies Over Capitol for LGBTQ Pride Month
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission has released the agenda for its June 18 meeting starting at 6 p.m.
Santa Clarita Planning Commission June 18 Meeting Agenda
The Lancaster JetHawks pulled off a comeback from a six-run deficit Sunday afternoon, beating the Inland Empire 66ers 11-10 at the Hangar.
JetHawks’ Comeback Win Closes Season’s First Half
The JetHawks needed an extra inning to beat Inland Empire Saturday, beating the 66ers, 5-4, in 10 innings at The Hangar.
JetHawks Pull 10th Inning Walk-off Win on Sixers
"Star Wars" weekend began Friday night in Lancaster with Inland Empire winning big, 19-5, over the Lancaster JetHawks at The Hangar.
‘Star Wars’ Weekend Opens with JetHawks Loss to Evil Inland Empire
Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean joined other elected officials from throughout the region to discuss transportation at the June 13 San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Mobility Workshop.
Santa Clarita Joins SFV Transportation Mobility Workshop
Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) invites members of the 38th Assembly District to apply to one of the Local Advisory Committees for 2019-2020.
Smith Invites Locals to Apply for Local Advisory Committees
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Summer Crime Enforcement Team arrested a Eureka man in Castaic on Saturday on charges of felony narcotics sales.
Eureka Man Arrested in Castaic on Felony Drug Charges
A pilot died when his single-engine aircraft crashed in a remote area of Newhall on Saturday afternoon.
Pilot Dies in Crash of Single-Engine Aircraft
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]
William Chormicle
1950 - Dedication of H.M. Newhall Memorial Park, aka Newhall Park [story]
1957 - Lang Station dedicated as State Historic Landmark No. 590 [story]
Lang Station
A Bridgeport couple has uncovered some disheartening news for motorists who grind to a halt as they zip through Valencia, braking for a family of Canada geese, narrowly avoiding a collision with the large birds.
Guardians of Geese at Bridgeport Urge Caution
The Santa Clarita City Council and MADD recognized Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputies Chris Morgan, Tanner Sanchez and Mario Acosta Tuesday for their major role in helping keep local streets safe from drunken drivers.
Deputies Morgan, Sanchez, Acosta Lauded by City, MADD
The city of Santa Clarita’s homeless population increased from 156 people in 2018 to 256 people in 2019, according to city-level data from the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count released Friday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Homeless Population in Santa Clarita Rises Again
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, June 18, starting at 9:30 a.m.
June 18 Meeting Agenda – LA County Supervisors
A motorcycle deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was taken to the hospital mid-afternoon Friday, following a vehicle collision in Valencia.
LASD Motorcycle Deputy Injured in Crash
%d bloggers like this: