Legal Docs Show Turmoil Inside LASD Over Deputy’s Rehiring

It’s not just county supervisors and the inspector general who were bothered by L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s rehiring of a deputy who was fired for domestic violence. The department’s former professional standards and training division chief Alicia Ault resigned after 34 years with the LASD rather than carry out the order, the Los Angeles Times reports.

[Ault] was told by the incoming sheriff’s chief of staff that it was Villanueva’s “No. 1 priority” to reinstate Caren Carl Mandoyan before Villanueva took office so it would appear to have been done by the administration of former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, according to a deposition she gave in the county’s lawsuit over the reinstatement, which was filed in court Wednesday.

Ault’s statements were contained in legal filings reviewed by the Times as part of the county’s court case against the sitting sheriff.

And there’s more.

The legal filings Wednesday also include a deposition from Villanueva’s former second-in-command, Ray Leyva, who was abruptly fired in March. Leyva said under oath that he reviewed video evidence in Mandoyan’s case that showed the deputy tried to pry open a woman’s door and had indeed lied about it, as investigators initially found.

Leyva said he believed the sheriff’s reconciliation committee deliberately “skewed” evidence to justify reinstating the deputy. He said he repeatedly clashed with Villanueva in disputes that he said arose after he told the new sheriff he had to adhere to policies and procedures on various issues.

The attorney for Mandoyan has repeatedly denied the allegations against his client. Sheriff Villanueva says he will not comment on pending litigation.


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