MONTEREY PARK (CBSLA) — The viral video of a Sheriff’s deputy apparently trying to break into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, continues to shadow LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The sheriff’s decision to rehire deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan — after he was fired by previous Sheriff Jim McDonnell — is at the center of a controversy.
The new Sheriff long defended his deputy saying he didn’t do anything wrong that required him to be fired in the first place.
But that was before the video surfaced Wednesday.
Villanueva presided over a graduating ceremony of new deputy recruits Thursday and also avoiding answering questions from KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen.
“Your ethics, your integrity, and what you do there is the most important thing you can do,” Villanueva told the graduates this evening at East LA College in Monterey Park.
He told his new recruits that they should never “fudge it” on the job.
The graduation speech comes one day after the release of the controversial video. The video shows Mandoyan trying to break into his ex-girlfriend’s home four years ago.
She complained that Mandoyan abused, stalked and harassed her. Former Sheriff McDonnell fired him, But when Villanueva won last year’s election he rehired him.
“Very disgusted with what’s going on,” said a member of a civilian oversight committee.
Earlier this week, Villanueva took a grilling from that committee about Mandoyan and cliques within his department – that are known to share similar tattoos.
The LA Times is now reporting Mandoyan also had a sheriff station tattoo after details in the investigation against him were made public.
Thursday evening, Nguyen made repeated attempts to talk to the Sheriff but he declined and left through a back door.
He was given a statement that read: “The Sheriff has talked about this topic extensively. There is pending litigation and this matter will be decided in court. The Sheriff is focused on running the department and ensuring the safety of the communities we serve.”
During his speech, Villanueva also told his new deputies this: “All of this hinges on your ability to do the right thing. And sometimes it’s not going to be the most popular thing.”
Although Villanueva didn’t want to answer questions about Mandoyan or the tattoo cliques, he will likely be asked them again next month when he faces the civilian oversight committee.