LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who was controversially rehired by newly elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva in December after being fired over domestic violence allegations has filed a civil lawsuit against county officials.
Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan filed a federal suit Wednesday alleging the county withheld his pay and are unfairly trying to get him re-fired, the L.A. Times reports.
According to the lawsuit, Mandoyan claims that some L.A. County Supervisors and sheriff’s officials got him fired as retaliation for his support of Villanueva and former sheriff’s candidate Jim Hellmold in 2014, according to the Times.
Last year, Mandoyan also filed a civil suit against the county, but dropped it on the condition that he be reinstated, the Times said. Prior to dropping the suit, the county had agreed to pay Mandoyan a $200,000 settlement, the Times reports.
The new lawsuit names as defendants L.A. County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis, Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger, Auditor-Controller John Naimo and former Assistant Sheriff Bobby Denham.
All this comes after Villanueva confirmed Wednesday that he recently reinstated a second deputy who was also fired over allegations of misconduct. Villanueva reinstated Deputy Michael Courtial, who was fired in June of 2018 after it was determined that he used unreasonable force while arresting a man in Lancaster in 2016.
Friday’s LA. Times report revealed that four more fired deputies have gotten their badges back, bringing the total to six deputies reinstated under Villanueva.
In 2016, Mandoyan was fired by then-Sheriff Jim McConnell after a fellow deputy alleged Mandoyan grabbed her by the neck, tried to break into her home twice, sent her harassing text messages and admitted to listening to her conversations, according to the Times. A county appeals board heard evidence in the case and upheld Mandoyan’s dismissal. Mandoyan was never criminally charged.
Despite his firing, Mandoyan played a key role in new Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s election campaign last year in which he narrowly defeated McConnell. He served as Villanueva’s driver during the campaign and appeared on-stage at his swearing-in ceremony in December. Villanueva reinstated Mandoyan in his first weeks as sheriff.
Villanueva has since repeatedly defended the move to the Board of Supervisors, which in January passed a motion reprimanding Villanueva for reinstating Mandoyan.
Last week, Villanueva was grilled about the decision by the L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commission.
“It (Mandoyan’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend) was a relationship that ended badly. It did not stray into the criminal arena,” Villanueva told the commission.
However, on March 27, just one day after going before the commission, cell phone video emerged showing Mandoyan trying to break into his ex-girlfriend’s home four years ago.