header image

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

Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 23
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]
Southern Hotel

Courtesy of The Signal, signalscv.com
| Friday, Sep 17, 2021
SCV Sheriff's Station
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station can be reached by calling 661-255-1121.

In the same week Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said they’ll be expanding the limitations on deputies drawing their AR-15’s in the field, some Santa Clarita Valley activists said they still want to see more changes to law enforcement policy.

The statements from LASD and local activists stem from a report released by the L.A. County Office of Inspector General last week titled “Review of August 7, 2020, Santa Clarita Incident.” The document summarizes the Inspector General’s year-long investigation into two deputies drawing their handguns, and a third drawing his AR-15 rifle, on three unarmed teenage boys near Whites Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road last year.

At the time of the incident, two separate callers — a man and a woman — had reported a fight between two Black skateboarders and a Hispanic man, in which the kids were hitting the man with a skateboard.

While the male caller, who was the first to report the incident, told deputies that the two skateboarders left the scene in an attempt to “avoid deputies,” the woman said the Hispanic man had taken “his shirt off, he was chasing them, he was trying to hit them.”

“Dispatch did not update the call to reflect the female caller’s observations,” the OIG report read. “A review of the mobile digital computer (MDT) records shows the call went out to deputies as two male Black adults, who were approximately 21 years old, hit a male Hispanic with a skateboard. No other weapon was mentioned.”

The third skateboarder, a white 18-year-old, was also not mentioned by either caller.

The OIG report stated the incident and subsequent investigation by the SCV Sheriff’s Station revealed a number of issues with department policy, from the rules governing the deputies’ use of firearms to the SCV Station’s response in the ensuing aftermath.

The investigative report also expresses the Inspector General’s concern that race and other possible biases were not investigated as possible factors in the deputies’ actions. On Aug. 10, 2020, three days after the incident, the watch commander report for the incident said Sheriff’s Department COBRA Task Force detectives identified the teenagers as having “run-ins with law enforcement” in the past, and that the “three had formed a gang or clique who ‘had beef’ with a Mexican gang.”

The report also states there would be “no reason to detail a subject’s past contacts with law enforcement, except to muddy the subject’s character and/or to garner sympathy for the deputies’ actions.” None of the deputies on the scene would have had any prior knowledge of the kids’ gang affiliations when responding to the initial call, the report states, and the allegation of gang involvement was unsubstantiated.

“No documentation was provided as to why members of the task force believed these teenagers were part of a gang,” the report read. “One of the teenagers had no criminal contacts at all. The other two had law enforcement contacts but had no convictions.”

The report reads that the 18-year-old skateboarder, while detained, confirmed the woman caller’s account of events and said the Hispanic man had attacked them. One of the two 16-year-old skateboarders informed deputies, while sitting in the back of the patrol car, that deputies had “detained the wrong individuals,” the report said.

A video of the incident taken by a witness was posted to social media and — given the preceding months filled with demonstrations and conversations about policing and race in America following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers — the video went viral within hours.

The report highlighted that the supervising sergeants failed to write reports or speak to witnesses at the time of the incident, and that the evidence of possible biases by the deputies was omitted from the follow-up investigation, which “may have resulted in portraying the deputies’ actions in a more favorable light.”

The OIG report states that the Sheriff’s Department seemed “reluctant to receive public comments,” despite the national media attention, witnesses at the scene crying foul and multiple public officials expressing their concerns.

The first civilian complaint taken about the incident, according to the report, was filed by an out-of-state caller on Aug. 10, 2020. It was documented only after the caller said the words, “Am I able to make a complaint to you?” which was then followed by a back-and-forth conversation between the SCV Sheriff’s Station watch commander and the complainant.

“Even when the complainant stated those magic words, ‘I want to make a complaint,’ the Sheriff’s Department representative’s response is troubling,” reads the report. “In this incident, a lieutenant, a person in a management role, challenged the complainant’s knowledge of the incident; questioned the complainant as to whether he had law enforcement training, and disagreed with well-established data that minorities are disproportionately ‘pressed on in situations like this.’”

LASD Response

In a statement sent to The Signal earlier this week, LASD officials said they’re already pursuing one recommendation given in the report and would be taking into consideration the eight others listed by the Inspector General’s staff.

“The strategy and tactics were reviewed and the policy on AR-15 deployment is being modified to offer better guidance as to the proper and improper deployment in the field,” said Deputy Trina Schrader of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. “Once the draft version has been finalized, it will be forwarded to the employee unions as part of the meet-and-confer process, and then to the Office of Inspector General.”

According to current LASD policy, pointing your firearm at a subject — but not physically injuring anyone with it — does not constitute a reportable event. While deputies are supposed to record the use in a log entry in their squad car’s computer, OIG staff found it “concerning that such behavior would never come to the attention of a supervisor without the public witnessing it, given the lack of reporting requirements means that there is no supervisorial or command staff assessment of the deputies’ conduct.”

In response to follow-up questions from The Signal asking for timelines regarding the review and possible adoption of the other policy changes suggested in the report, Capt. John Satterfield, also of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau, reaffirmed that the other recommendations were being considered, but that the AR-15 deployment recommendation was the only one being actively pursued as of now.

Within days of the original incident last year, downtown LASD officials said they would be looking at the department’s policy toward drawing a semiautomatic rifle during an incident. As it stands, the Sheriff’s Department “Manual of Policy and Procedures” does not mention what constitutes warranted usage of a patrol rifle, the OIG report read, and the report recommends the Sheriff’s Department revise its patrol rifle policy to include “clear guidance to the proper and improper deployment of a rifle.”

The new policy for the department is expected to be announced during a press conference on Sept. 22, Satterfield said. As of the publication of this article, Satterfield reported the department did not have a system that tracked the instances or number of times LASD deputies drew their firearms in the field but do not fire. Department policy, according to the OIG report, requires deputies make a “mobile data entry” log entry each time they point their weapon at someone, but added that the incident “would likely not have come to (Sheriff Alex Villaneuva’s) attention” had there not been video evidence recorded by a nearby citizen.

Officials from the SCV Sheriff’s Station, the city of Santa Clarita and Mayor Bill Miranda declined to comment on the findings of the OIG report. The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff’s, the labor union that represents sworn deputies throughout L.A. County, did not respond to requests for comment.

Activists’ Response

While acknowledging they were encouraged to hear of the pending change to deputy field rifle use, SCV activists said they would still like to see additional policy alterations and/or conversations.

“We’re very glad to see that Inspector General (Max) Huntsman was able to conduct a thorough and objective investigation of the incident,” said Jess Conrad from SCV for Change, which participated in organizing many of the local Black Lives Matter protests and conversations of 2020. “Unfortunately, the contents of the investigation report will likely make little difference to the Sheriff’s Department and will not be able to erase the trauma those young boys experienced that day.”

Valerie Bradford, president of the Santa Clarita chapter of the NAACP, said she believed it to be “extremely aggressive” for the deputies, within seconds of arriving, to pull their firearms on teenagers with skateboards.

“Unfortunately, this is the norm for Black people,” Bradford said. “When we call the police or when someone else calls the police, we are not going to be treated equally.”

Bradford asked local law enforcement to invite the community organizations concerned with policing to a sit-down to go through the changes LASD is making.

“I would definitely like to see us be able to sit down with the Sheriff’s Department and have a conversation to see if there’s anything we can do or if we can have any input,” said Bradford. “A lot of white residents here say racism doesn’t exist because they don’t experience it. But we know racism exists because as soon as our branch was established, we started getting reports of people experiencing it.”

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.


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

SCV NewsBreak
Friday, Oct 22, 2021
Oct. 23: SCV Sheriff’s Station Hosting “Drug Take Back Day”
On Saturday, Oct. 23, SCV Sheriff Station J-Team deputies will be hosting a "Drug Take Back Day" between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in front of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.
Friday, Oct 22, 2021
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: County Begins Administering COVID Vaccine Boosters for All Three FDA-Approved Vaccines to Residents; SCV Cases Total 36,989
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 15 new deaths and 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 36,989 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, Oct 22, 2021
L.A. County Anti-Asian Hate Crimes See 76% Increase in 2020
The total number of anti-Asian hate crimes within Los Angeles County rose 76% in 2020, according to a report released Wednesday.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]
Southern Hotel
On Saturday, Oct. 23, SCV Sheriff Station J-Team deputies will be hosting a "Drug Take Back Day" between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in front of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.
Oct. 23: SCV Sheriff’s Station Hosting “Drug Take Back Day”
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 15 new deaths and 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 36,989 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: County Begins Administering COVID Vaccine Boosters for All Three FDA-Approved Vaccines to Residents; SCV Cases Total 36,989
As you walk along the River Village Park Trail at Duane R. Harte Park, you can now enjoy nature and a story at the same time.
Santa Clarita Public Library Debuts ‘Trail Tales’ Literary Adventure at Duane R. Harte Park
The total number of anti-Asian hate crimes within Los Angeles County rose 76% in 2020, according to a report released Wednesday.
L.A. County Anti-Asian Hate Crimes See 76% Increase in 2020
Residents in unincorporated Los Angeles County were told Thursday to ignore a recent notice concerning home registry from the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, according to officials in Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office.
County ‘Rental Property’ Notice Sparks Homeowner Confusion
Classified employees within the Saugus Unified School District are now showing their COVID-19 vaccination verification or undergoing weekly testing to work in the office.
Classified School Workers Undergo COVID-19 Vaccine Verification
Californians age 70 and older may continue to renew their driver’s licenses online or by mail through Dec. 31, 2022. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation to extend this temporary rule.
Californians 70 and Older Can Renew Driver’s Licenses Online Through 2022
Six Flags Magic Mountain, the undisputed “Thrill Capital of the World,” in partnership with Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and DC, today unveiled plans to add yet another record-breaking coaster—WONDER WOMAN™ Flight of Courage—to its unparalleled thrill ride lineup.
Six Flags Magic Mountain Announces Record 20th Coaster WONDER WOMAN Flight of Courage
Smells of Filipino food wafted outside the Newhall Community Center as a welcome for attendees of the Fil-Am Association of Santa Clarita Valley, “Pistahan at Bayanihan” (Festivities and Community) Cultural Festival.
Community Leaders Celebrate Filipino Culture, History
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene is returning to his former home of Stevenson Ranch Saturday to meet local kids and give out free baseball cleats.
SCV Native, Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Hunter Greene Offering Free Cleats for Local Kids
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]
grave markers
Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, (R-Santa Clarita), delivered a second letter Thursday to ensure accountability on a state-funded COVID-19 testing lab.
Wilk Demands Newsom Admin to Halt Auto-Renew Of No-Bid Contract for Valencia Testing Lab
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 27 new deaths and 1,167 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 36,924 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 36,924; L.A. County Ready to Administer Additional Boosters
Aglaia Mortcheva has spent over 20 years working in animation, from Comedy Central to Nickelodeon and FOX, and is eager to share her insights on turning cartoons into characters people care about as a professor in California State University, Northridge’s animation program in the Department of Art.
CSUN Welcomes Longtime Nickelodeon Animator as Art Department Professor
The city of Santa Clarita’s Volunteer Engagement Program is pleased to partner with the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit Council and the SCV Nonprofit Leaders Network for the 2021 Nonprofit Symposium.
City Inviting Area Nonprofits to 2021 Nonprofit Symposium
The end of the season approaches as the Santa Clarita Valley football teams are officially over halfway done with league play.
Week Nine Foothill League Roundup for Trinity, Santa Clarita Christian, Castaic
After a year of virtual celebrations, the only zooming that will be done at the College of the Canyons Fall 2021 Science Talk Star Party will be through actual telescopes.
Oct. 29: COC’s Fall Star Party Returns to Canyon Country Campus
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted 17 students, including Sujin Kim from California Institute of the Arts, winners of the 48th Student Academy Awards competition.
CalArtian Among 17 Winners of Student Academy Awards
Seventeen employees were honored as the Classified Employees of the Year Wednesday night at the William S. Hart Union High School District’s governing board meeting.
Hart Governing Board Recognizes Classified Employees of the Year
Hundreds of Santa Clarita teens gathered on Sunday, Oct. 17, to join actor-influencer Eric Artell in kicking off the “ASMD Baby Food Challenge,” a social media challenge created to raise awareness for local toddler Damian Markham and Wylder Nation Foundation. 
Baby Food Challenge Kicks Off Locally for Terminally-Ill SCV Toddler
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,356 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Buckweed Fire
Family Promise Santa Clarita in partnership with Williams Homes, And HomeAid LA, will break ground on their new local resource center. 
Family Promise To Break Ground On New Resource Center
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 31 new deaths and 1,267 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 36,859 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: Public Health Urges Vaccines for Sports Viewing; 36,859 Total SCV Cases
%d bloggers like this: