LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva found himself in hot water Wednesday after making controversial comments about women who work in his department.
The comments came while the sheriff was being interviewed on Big Boy’s radio show. The sheriff was discussing female deputies when he made remarks some called sexist.
Big Boy asked Villanueva who would win a fight between the LAPD or LASD.
“No guns, no badges,” he said, “just one-on-one? Ah, they would have one advantage. We have a bigger, more diverse employment group. More females.”
The sheriff was trying to make a joke, but many people were not laughing. Critics were quick to pounce. The sheriff was also quick to respond.
Los Angeles Times newspaper reporter Maya Lau, who covers LASD, was among those who were not amused.
In a tweet she wrote, “Sheriff Villanueva was asked if LAPD & Sheriff’s Dept were to fight, who’d win? He said LAPD has advantage because it has fewer female officers than Sheriff’s Dept does …This fr sheriff who touts high % of female staff.”
Villanueva tweeted back, saying, “@mayalau your tweet is an editorial statement. We thought you were an objective journalist covering facts to serve the best interest of the public. It’s a shame @latimes would allow you to make such instigating remarks unbecoming of journalistic standards.”
This latest controversy follows one involving Deputy Caren Mandoyan. He was fired by then-Sheriff Jim McConnell after a fellow deputy alleged he grabbed her neck and tried to break into her home.
The LA Times obtained video of Mandoyan attempting to break into the woman’s home — an ex-girlfriend. His lawyers told the Times he lived there with the ex and she locked him out.
Most recently, Sheriff Villanueva reinstated a deputy who was previously fired over allegations of misconduct.
Deputy Michael Courtial was fired after it was determined that he used unreasonable force while arresting a man in Lancaster.
While the sheriff did not go into detail about these two cases he said he was looking at over 400 different terminations and says while many were valid he found a boatload of them that were not.
He says the biggest challenge of being a new sheriff is the Board of Supervisors.
“We found out that actually African American, Latinos where disproportionately terminated from employment from the county but now the Board of Supervisors has asked us to put a halt on our truth and reconciliation process.”
CBS2 asked the sheriff for a comment and he responded: “I stand behind all of our female staff – sworn and civilian. They are strong and intelligent. Our brothers and sisters at LAPD are also equally talented and an important part of our public safety in Los Angeles for all residents.