WeHo City Council Members Agree They Should Speak Out About Sheriff Villanueva

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Council members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister said it is time for the city to speak out about the controversial behavior of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

D’Amico suggested that the city’s Public Safety Commission be asked to take a look at statements and actions by Villanueva that have resulted in demands by L.A. County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas that he resign. Members of the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission and Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu also have spoken out against him. Meister recommended that City Hall staff bring to the Council’s next meeting a report on Villanueva’s action and that the Council support Kuehl in her demand that Villanueva resign. Councilmember John Heilman also said he thought it was important for the city to speak out about Villanueva.

Villanueva became Sheriff when he defeated the incumbent, Jim McDonnell, in the 2018 election. He had major support from the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff union, which had opposed steps McDonnell had taken to discipline deputies for violating the law or department policies, some of whom Villanueva re-instated. He heads the largest Sheriff’s department in the country, with 18,000 employees, which provides public safety services under contract to the City of West Hollywood.

Villanueva’s threatening comments about Sachi Hamai, who recently stepped down as Los Angeles County CEO, have resulted in the county providing her with full-time private security and paying her $1.5 million to settle claims she brought regarding “severe and pervasive harassment, defamation, malicious prosecution and hostility” by Villanueva.

Villanueva has refused to comply with subpoenas from the L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commission, which has questions about the handling of the Coronavirus outbreak in county jails. He also has launched an investigation into Max Huntsman, the L.A. County inspector general, in an apparent act of retribution against Huntsman’s investigation into his behavior. Huntsman has raised questions about Villanueva numerous times, most recently for refusing to share evidence from the recent death of 18-year-old Andres Guardado, who was shot in the back and killed while running from deputies.

Villanueva also sparked controversy with his comments about an incident in which five Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were videoed as they pushed to the ground and handcuffed a reporter for KPCC who was covering a protest outside St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. That incident was criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded with claims that have been proven to be untrue as reported by LAist.comand theLos Angeles Times.

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Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
2 months ago

He’s doing a fine job.

Cy Husain
2 months ago

The problem with LASD goes far deeper that the current Sheriff Alex Villanueva, recall we basically had the same problem with the former Sheriff Lee Baca who ended up being sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in obstructing an FBI investigation into abuse of county jail inmates. The problem is that the voters keep electing the same problem back into the Sheriff’s office ❗ YES, there is a very legitimate concern about law enforcement being capable of handling tough criminals BUT, this is NOT attained by electing one as Sheriff. 🤦‍♀️ We need to ELECT a… Read more »

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Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
2 months ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

True-Dat

Seriously, it really goes so much deeper and throwing sand into the head of our own City Law Enforcement Leader will only lead to poor Law Enforcement for our City.

Worth the useless act with no teeth vs victims of crime, violence and property damage or theft get no timely response as usual.

The Council may “run the city” but local law enforcement really are elected council members as their B*****s

So don’t piss them off with no return or benefit a highly likely outcome.

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
2 months ago

Our outspoken “Mayor” Horvath did not opine?

Ruth Williams
Ruth Williams
2 months ago

As a Public Safety Commissioner who has been following the COC and Board of Supervisors meetings.. I wholeheartedly support the decision of the Council to speak out about Villaneuva and also the resolution that will be coming from the COC to request his resignation. At the last COC meeting I heard the entire list of charges the COC is placing on the resolution and it’s a disgrace. I also feel this position should be appointed by the Board of Supervisors and not an elected one. If it was appointed he would be gone by now!! Please speak out in support… Read more »

Jay
Jay
2 months ago
Reply to  Ruth Williams

Hi Ruth-

Thank you for your civic engagement and your insights and I concur- our Sheriff should be answerable to someone besides the voters.

They should be appointed by the Board of Supervisors as you suggest, which would also encourage vetting to ideally head off potential situations appearing down the line, such as those afflicting our current Sheriff.

Ruth Williams
Ruth Williams
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay

I’ve also been “digging” to find out other ways he can be removed, and I did discover that our Attorney General Xavier Becerra has the power to dump him!! I’m hoping our Board of Supervisors would look into this.

Vigilant
Vigilant
2 months ago
Reply to  Ruth Williams

Are you able to craft a letter to AG Becerra?

Jay
Jay
2 months ago
Reply to  Ruth Williams

Another good suggestion Ruth and thank you for doing the digging!

I highly doubt that anything could cause Villanueva to resign of his own volition, so this avenue is worth pursuing.

L.A. County Board of Supervisors?

Ruth Williams
Ruth Williams
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay

His ego is too big to let him resign. I’m hoping the Board of Supervisors will look to Becerra. If not a recall could be started but it would cost a fortune.

Art
Art
2 months ago
Reply to  Ruth Williams

I wholeheartedly concur. He is a disgrace to common human decency and ideas of fairness. He must resign, be recalled, and/or be prosecuted. I want to vomit when I see his face or hear his awful voice on TV. To have him represent the largest county in our country is laughable.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago
Reply to  Ruth Williams

I’m glad the council has decided to take action, too. By council, I mean those who think and act local. Curious that Horvath was silent on this issue, but I guess her energy was spent after the various pressing issues on which she showboated at this meeting.

Jay
Jay
2 months ago

Hank-

Best news I’ve had all day! Thank you! I’d like to think your being the squeaky wheel might have had the tiniest positive impact.

Keep fighting the good fight!