Los Angeles County Inspector General Max Huntsman told the Civilian Oversight Commission for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday that his office was excluded from observing the Dijon Kizzee autopsy, and that the LASD “does not follow the laws” designed to ensure independent investigations.
“The Sheriff’s Department had gone ahead, down to the autopsy, had it scheduled and been present without telling us,” Hunstman said in an interview with KNBC Channel 4 Los Angeles, posted on Twitter Thursday night.
In a statement Friday, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva denied Huntsman’s accusations. Villanueva’s statement follows:
Unfortunately, and yet once again, the inspector general has added to his long history of selectively omitting facts which are unfavorable to his position. In line with his well-established pattern of disinformation, he continues to sow the seeds of division between law enforcement and the community.
In this most recent example, he has attempted to distort reality in order to make excuses to the Board of Supervisors and the Civilian Oversight Commission for his own administrative incompetence in failing to make provisions for his attendance at the autopsy of Mr. Dijon Kizzee.
As is the standard operational procedure, the Los Angeles County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner (DME) scheduled the date and time for this autopsy. The DME is in full and complete control of the entire process, as has always been the case and common sense would dictate. Homicide investigators were given a two-hour notice of the scheduled procedure and attended the autopsy as a component of the on-going criminal investigation.
Permission to be present at an autopsy is granted, and notice is made, by DME, not the investigative agency. The LASD does not “include” or “exclude” anyone from the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s autopsy. It is not under our authority or control to do so.
Mr. Huntsman’s recent statements are disingenuous and seriously bring into question his intellectual honesty, as he is well aware of the standard protocol. He was present for the autopsy of Mr. Andres Guardado and arranged his own notification for attendance through DME, as is appropriate and expected. His attendance was not arranged through the LASD. If he intended to attend this autopsy, he should have followed the same procedure he did previously.
Mr. Huntsman’s most recent statements are simply the latest installment in his pattern of unsubstantiated and inflammatory remarks designed to bring discredit to, and unfairly harm, the Department. Mr. Huntsman needs to accept responsibility for his lack of preparation and apologize for trying to blame others for his blunders.
Our Department wants to be a partner in fair oversight, but this is not occurring with the current inspector general.
Alex Villanueva, Sheriff
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