City Councilmember John D’Amico Asks the Sheriff’s Department to Delay Capt. Aloma’s Transfer

City Councilmember John D’Amico has asked L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to delay the transfer from West Hollywood of Sheriff’s Capt. Sergio Aloma until the conclusion of the investigation of the death on Monday of Timothy Dean at the Laurel Avenue apartment of Ed Buck.

Aloma, who heads the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, has been promoted to commander and is scheduled to be reassigned as of Sunday to the downtown Los Angeles Custody Division.

West Hollywood Sheriff's Station
Commander Sergio Aloma. (Photo by Joseph Daniels)

“As the Mayor Pro Tempore of the City of West Hollywood, I am respectfully requesting that the reassignment of West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Captain Sergio Aloma be delayed until the investigation … has been concluded,” D’Amico said in his letter to Villanueva. “As you are likely aware, the recent death of Timothy Dean, which follows the 2017 death of Gemmel Moore at the same location, has sparked intense response, has impacted neighborhood residents, and has created new concerns and challenges for our community.”

“I feel that losing Captain Aloma at this time sends the wrong message to our community. The fact that he is being assigned to the Custody Division rather than remaining in North Patrol leaves a void of knowledge and leadership at this trying time.”

The death of Dean, a 55-year-old African American man, occurred 17 months after the death of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year African-American sex worker, at Buck’s apartment. The L.A. County Coroner’s Office ruled that Moore’s death was an accident caused by an overdose of methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous drug that has had a significant impact on the gay community. The cause of Dean’s death has not yet been made public. However, Seymour Amster, Buck’s attorney, has suggested that it also Involved drugs and insists his client is not to blame. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Amster said that Dean “was an old friend who died of an accidental overdose, and unfortunately, we believe that the substance was ingested at some place other than the apartment. The person came over-intoxicated.”

Dean’s death prompted a rally outside Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment on Tuesday night, with demands for Buck’s arrest. Another one is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday. Also 41 national civil rights and LGBTQ rights organizations including the ACLU of Southern California have called for a thorough investigation into Dean’s death and another look at Moore’s death. The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Buck in that matter, saying it had insufficient evidence to convict him.

Aloma’s replacement likely will take some time. Typically the Sheriff’s Department presents three candidates for review by West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo, who then passes along a recommendation to the Sheriff, who makes the final decision. That can take months, as it did when Aloma was finally chosen in March 2017 to replace then-Capt. Holly Perez, who was promoted to a commander position after 12 months at the West Hollywood Station.

As a so-called “contract city,” West Hollywood contracts with the Sheriff’s Department for public safety services, spending more than $20 million a year.

In his letter to Villanueva, D’Amico said that he believes “that maintaining a strong consistent voice from the leadership of our Sheriff’s Station is crucial at this time.”


5 Comments
  1. I find it Repulsive and Disturbing that a very good friend of Ed Buck is asking the New LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to delay his transfer. D’Amico unless you and some of your fellow colleagues come forward and apologize for your actions and statements in cahoots with Buck this is a media stunt. People who know WeHo know friends know what each other do!!!
    It’s bad enough that Buck was not charged with a crime in regards to Moore’s death. He probably thought he was safe thanks to his donations.
    You all better get together with the NEW Captain and make sure this gets handled to the letter of the law. There is way to much at stake here since a lot of you backed this garbage!!!

    1. What evidence do you have that he was as “very good friend?” Politicians take donations. Buck supported D’Amico’s animal rights efforts, as well as his campaign, and others. Like they all automatically knew everything about the man?

      Like it or not, that is how the system works. Politicians accept donations. You think every person knows everything about everyone? D’Amico didn’t know that he did this sort of thing, and even if you think he did, show me the proof?

      Carolyn, I’ll bet you have some “friends” with some skeletons in their closets that you don’t know about.

      But what you find “repulsive and disgusting” is his effort to deal with this issue head on. He was also at the rally outside Buck’s apartment. Think of that what you want.

  2. With gratitude to the retired deputy, author of the previous comment, for his service, I must object to the simplification of this leadership issue as merely one involving a station of the LASD and the ongoing operations of the larger LASD organization as it relates to promotions and transfers. The West Hollywood relationship is a unique one in that we pay for a service that is our local community law enforcement unit. We had the opportunity to change that relationship but the status quo won out, with some significant concessions in the way our city is protected by our law enforcement unit. Sheriff Villanueva has every right to make leadership changes throughout the organization, but must be accountable to this city and its contract with the LASD. I applaud Mr. D’Amico for this outreach to the Sheriff, but it must be more of a demand than merely a request. We are the customer, we are paying, and we must demand more. We can’t tolerate being treated as an annoying outpost, we must demand leadership continuity and not have a commander yanked with such short notice, especially during a period of heightened scrutiny and demands on local community resources. We are a community, not merely an outpost or station.

  3. The Captain of a station has little input or involvement in drug overdose death investigations at his city. The investigation is handled by or has input into by various units such as Homicide Bureau,Narcotics Bureau, the Coroners office and the County DA’s office.

    I don’t see any negative message other than promotions and transfers occur all the time and the business of the Sheriffs Department has to continue in its normal course.
    The investigation will be completed regardless of the Captain at the station.

    1. Interesting to look up Mr. Scauzillo on Linkedin and view his resume.

      The question is if and what prompt gathering of evidence took place at the residence of Mr. Buck on the night in question. The press gives the appearance that both Mr. Buck and his attorney Seymour Amstel are directing the dialogue.

      It would be helpful if the community and its leaders were informed as to the expected chain of event.

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