DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Less than six months after he was sworn in, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was in the hot seat Tuesday.

The civilian oversight committee grilled him about ongoing issues.

It revolves around the hiring by the sheriff of a deputy who had been fired, and there are allegations that there are some deputies who are acting as “gang members.”

The committee discussed with Villanueva the troubles going on at the East L.A. substation where apparently a group of deputies known as the “Banditos” has formed their own clique. Some call it a gang. Their insignia is a special tattoo that they all have and many deputies, including those in Compton, have their own special tattoos.

The sheriff told the committee he’s on top of the situtation and it will take time to clean it out.

Then came the subject of Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan. He had been fired by the sheriff’s department in 2016 for spousal abuse. One of the first acts of the sheriff was to reinstate him. Mandoyan had worked on his campaign.

“It was a relationship that ended badly. It did not stray into the criminal arena,” said Villanueva.

The sheriff has repeatedly defended Mandoyan, saying he did nothing criminally wrong and that he deserves to have his job back.

On Tuesday, Mandoyan said he had new evidence that can prove that.

He was asked if he would provide the committee all of the so-called new evidence to back this.

“That’s a good question and I want to find an answer to that question so I’m going to get back to you on that,” said Villanueva.

It went on for nearly 90 minutes.

They adjourned and said they will come back next month with more answers for the sheriff.

The sheriff will be hosting a media open house Wednesday where some of the questions that were asked Tuesday will likely come up again.


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