The L.A. Sheriff’s Department is Investigating Its Own Watchdog

Regular readers of County News know there’s been nothing but drama between L.A. County and its sheriff’s department since Alex Villanueva took over in December. There was the controversial rehiring of a deputy accused of domestic violence; a rollback of police reforms; alleged secret transfers of inmates to immigration officials; accusations of lying and cronyism; and even concerns over the sheriff’s new digs.

Now comes the latest installment of the L.A. County Sheriff’s dumpster fire:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has launched a criminal investigation into its chief watchdog tied to allegations that the oversight agency unlawfully obtained internal records, according to a letter from Undersheriff Timothy Murakami to the county Board of Supervisors.

The letter, dated Monday, says the inquiry centers on “very troubling information and preliminary evidence” indicating that the county Office of Inspector General and current and former members of the Sheriff’s Department may have engaged in conspiracy, theft of government property, unauthorized computer access, theft of confidential files and burglary. — Los Angeles Times

Yes, you read that right. LASD is investigating the body that conducts oversight of the ... wait for it ... LASD.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the investigation “smells a little bogus” to her and questioned whether this was an act of intimidation.

Inspector General Max Huntsman, who maintains he did nothing illegal, agreed:

“It is improper for a sheriff to criminally target a public official for formally discharging their duties under a county code.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party made a highly unusual move last week, passing a resolution condemning the man it endorsed for sheriff. Party leaders say they feel conned.


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