L.A. County’s current sheriff, Alex Villanueva, has struck again. The man we have previously named “King of the Jerks” served search warrants on Wednesday morning to 81-year-old County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and a sheriff’s citizen’s oversight commissioner, Patti Giggans. The corrupt to the core sheriff’s office claims the raids were part of an “ongoing investigation” into a contract given to Giggans’ domestic violence nonprofit several years ago. But anybody with any sense for this thuggish sheriff knows it was an effort to bully and intimidate leaders who question his embarrassing tenure as the county’s top cop.
Hear it from Supervisor Kuehl herself in this statement, sent to us yesterday:
“As a County Supervisor, I’ve done everything I could to bring appropriate oversight and supervision to the LA County Sheriff’s Department, a department that has become more and more uncontrolled and troubled under the current Sheriff. It has continued to be plagued with wrongful death and excessive force lawsuits which have to be paid for with taxpayer money, and has run up a ballooning deficit. Current law gives the Supervisors limited legal authority over the Sheriff.
Make no mistake. Today’s search warrant is not motivated by a desire to get to the bottom of a Metro contract that dates from seven years ago. The process by which this contract was awarded never involved me and, indeed, the first I knew of it was an invite to a Metro press conference announcing it. The basis of this search was questionable and will be investigated. This morning’s storming of my home by deputies with bulletproof vests and tactical gear was an effort to harass, intimidate and retaliate against a public figure who has been an outspoken critic of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. I am not the only such critic, and other courageous County leaders have also been the targets of this Sheriff’s vindictiveness.
As a Supervisor, I have insisted that the Sheriff take steps to reduce deputy-involved shootings, meaningfully address the existence of known gangs in his department, cooperate with the Office of the Inspector General in its investigations, comply with subpoenas issued to elicit needed information about the department, appear before the County’s Civilian Oversight Commission to address community concerns, and, like the heads of more than 30 other County departments, to operate within a balanced budget.
Today’s early morning search of my home was a thuggish attempt to intimidate and silence not just me, but many other public servants who are working hard to rebuild the trust between law enforcement and the communities it is supposed to serve.”
Note the supervisor’s observation that the deputies were numerous in number and fully decked out in gear they would normally wear to raid a violent suspect. It’s absolutely galling.
We have been cautious regarding a ballot measure that would give the five county supervisors the authority to remove a dually elected county sheriff. But Mr. Villanueva continues to tease us into supporting such a measure given his politically paranoid, offensive, and abusive uses of his office. Everything is a show with this guy. Everything is a distraction from his wanton flaws and his inability to clean up the act of the sheriff’s department. It’s no wonder Villanueva feels more comfortable on Tucker Carlson’s white supremacist nightly broadcast than dealing with local reporters doing their jobs like Spectrum News’ Kate Cagle, who has contributed to bringing much of the sheriff’s malfeasance to light.
Villanueva has even asked State Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate County Inspector General Max Huntsman – also a Villanueva critic – out of suspicion the inspector general tipped Kuehl off on the coming raid. We sincerely hope Mr. Bonta will reject the sheriff’s request for the additional stunt that it is.
He’ll never admit to any personal flaws and he will never resign, but we call on Villanueva to do so immediately. The sheriff’s department is such a mess it’s only right that Villanueva concede that he is, was, and never will be up to the job to execute the duties of the county sheriff honorably.
Mr. Villanueva, you are unfit to serve. We know you won’t resign, but we are looking forward to your losing badly on November 8.
Photo credit to: csfotoimages