State AG to Review Controversial LA Sheriff's Probes

The California Department of Justice will review several investigations by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that have been criticized as political or retaliatory in nature.

The investigations under scrutiny have targeted Inspector General Max Huntsman, who conducts reform and oversight of LASD, and Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit run by a member of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission that also oversees the Sheriff’s Department.

“None of these investigations appears to have merit, despite Sheriff Villanueva’s attempts to publicize them, and none has resulted in criminal charges,” LA County Counsel Rodrigo Castro-Silva wrote to the attorney general in a letter last month. “The lack of charges and the circumstances underlying the investigations strongly suggests that these criminal inquiries are designed to intimidate a watchdog agency and its employees.”

Villanueva “has used these investigations to discourage legitimate oversight of himself and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and to retaliate against any public official who criticizes him or the Sheriff’s Department,” the letter said.

As part of the probe, Attorney General Rob Bonta will examine the Sheriff’s Department findings on the Huntsman matter, as well as conflict of interest allegations against former Los Angeles CEO Sachi Hamai. The attorney general will also ask LASD for an update on the Peace Over Violence investigation.

Villanueva says he is eager for the AG to review his office's findings and that he will cooperate fully. 

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.