May 19, 2022

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The Passionate Pursuit of Law

LA sheriff delayed excessive force probe


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just one of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s closest advisers claims she was explained to to choose concerning retirement or demotion just after raising issues about his managing of the investigation into a deputy kneeling on a handcuffed inmate’s head for quite a few minutes.

The March 10, 2021, incident was captured on video and Robin Limon, who was an assistant sheriff, claimed she viewed it 5 times afterwards with Villanueva and two other sheriff’s officers, in accordance to a lawful assert — a precursor to a lawsuit — filed Thursday by Limon’s lawyer. She envisioned Villanueva would act quickly but inside and criminal investigations of the deputy have been delayed.


Limon grew discouraged with Villanueva’s dealing with of the circumstance and in general oversight of the agency of the nation’s most significant sheriff’s section, which has about 10,000 deputies. Issues came to a head final thirty day period when Villanueva demanded she decide on “between two toxic options:” retirement or a 4-phase demotion to the rank of lieutenant, the assert claimed. She alternatively took a depart.

“The motives for the Sheriff’s misconduct have been twofold, to retaliate from the Complainant for staying a whistleblower on a number of circumstances of illegal and other wrongful conduct and to more his protect up of an excessive use of drive incident,” the claim explained, referring to the deputy kneeling on the inmate.

Villanueva has denied any wrongdoing in his managing of the scenario. He maintains he did not see the video clip till 8 months right after the incident.

A statement issued Thursday by the office explained there would be no remark on Limon’s declare. “We glance forward to presenting the information in court docket,” the statement mentioned.

Limon’s declare is the 2nd submitted against the sheriff more than the incident, which transpired in a county courthouse two times soon after jury choice commenced for the demo of Derek Chauvin, the previous Minneapolis law enforcement officer who was convicted of murder for pressing his knee towards George Floyd’s neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes.

Both of those accuse him of orchestrating a protect-up to restrict any political harm from the online video — Villanueva is jogging for a second phrase — which arrived into the general public area past thirty day period when the Los Angeles Instances described on the incident and posted the video clip, which it obtained from an unidentified resource.

The Times was 1st to report on Limon’s claim, which came two times following Villanueva held a news meeting and said a criminal investigation was underway to identify how the video was leaked. He explained the Times reporter who broke the information last month was section of the probe.

That assertion introduced speedy condemnation from the paper, Initial Amendment advocates and local politicians. Inside hours Villanueva walked back again his remarks and stated the agency was not pursuing expenses from any reporters.

The Linked Push and much more than two dozen other media stores and organizations sent Villanueva a letter Thursday saying his steps had been “an affront to the 1st Amendment and a violation of your community trust with the people of Los Angeles.”

In accordance to Limon, it was Villanueva’s motivation to “avoid lousy publicity” that led him to attempt to include up the incident with the deputy.

In the movie, Deputy Douglas Johnson is demonstrated directing inmate Enzo Escalante to transfer up from a wall in the courthouse. Escalante punches at Johnson and other deputies help wrestle Escalante to the floor and handcuff him.

Johnson then experienced his knee on Escalante’s head for more than three minutes, the Instances claimed, even immediately after the inmate experienced been handcuffed, positioned deal with-down and did not appear to be resisting. Escalante — who was awaiting demo on murder and other prices — was taken to the healthcare facility for treatment of slight accidents.

Johnson was removed from duty months later and is underneath legal investigation, Villanueva reported Tuesday. Prosecutors are reviewing Johnson’s situation but no charges have yet been introduced.

Escalante has pleaded not responsible to two counts of resisting an officer. He has filed a federal lawsuit against customers of the sheriff’s division, together with Villanueva, that alleges his civil legal rights were violated.



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