LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Deputies found to have driven more than 100 miles per hour while under the influence, inappropriately touched two girls who were part of the department’s Youth Activities League and assaulted their wives are among those who remain employed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to a newly released report.
Inspector General Max Huntsman discussed the report with the Board of Supervisors Tuesday where he accused the department, led by Sheriff Alex Villanueva, of stonewalling his office’s requests for information.
“After the department received a draft of a report on the cutting in half of newly opened internal affairs cases, we were point blank refused a list of open internal investigations,” Huntsman told the board.
The OIG report, released Monday, found that during the first five months of this year, LASD initiated far fewer disciplinary investigations than any similar period over the last decade. Attachments to the report detail specific instances that show the department imposed lighter consequences than originally recommended for 20 employees — not all of whom are deputies — from March through May of this year.
In one case — prior to Villanueva’s swearing in — the department served an unidentified deputy with a letter of intent to discharge him for threatening his wife, assaulting her in front of their child and choking his wife to the point of unconsciousness, according to the report. The deputy was also said to have lied to investigators about the assault, the report said. The Los Angeles County District Attorney declined to file charges.
The deputy had previously been disciplined on four different occasions, including for unreasonable use of force against an inmate, and had been suspended for a total of 23 days.
In March of this year, after a hearing allowing the deputy to respond to the accusations, the department agreed to remove the findings related to lying and child endangerment. The findings of domestic violence remained, and the deputy was suspended for 25 days — not terminated.
And while a number of the cases detailed in the report are for violations such as bringing in food from an inmate’s family without first checking for contraband, using a county vehicle for unofficial purposes or failing to report use of minor force — there are others that include behavior that could have, and sometimes did, injure others.
In one such case, a deputy was served a letter of intent to discharge after being arrested for driving at more than 100 miles per hour while under the influence of alcohol. The deputy, who had previously been disciplined three times and suspended for a total of 32 days, was criminally convicted of misdemeanor DUI. After his hearing, he was suspended for 30 days — not terminated — with an agreement that he would be randomly tested for alcohol.
But during the same March-May time period, at least seven employees were terminated. They include a civilian employee accused of falsifying overtime records; a security officer accused of fraternizing with a gang member; a deputy convicted in Nevada of felony domestic violence and sentenced to 30 months in prison; a deputy accused of failing to properly investigate a crime, falsifying records and lying to an internal affairs investigator; a civilian employee accused of using methamphetamine while off-duty and associating with an inmate; a deputy accused of lying to his supervisor about a traffic collision; and a deputy accused of driving an all-terrain vehicle while under the influence of alcohol who had previously been suspended for a total of 40 days for other violations.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)