LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In the latest development in an ongoing power struggle between Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors, the sheriff is refusing to attend a meeting of the Civilian Oversight Commission despite being subpoenaed to do so.
Instead, Villanueva said his department will be represented at Thursday’s meeting by Assistant Sheriff Bruce Chase, adding that he remains committed to making the Sheriff’s Department as transparent as possible.
“Regarding the commission’s subpoena, you have to understand … the subpoena, Measure R, the ordinance enacted by the Board of Supervisors, all these things were generated without any oversight, without any third-party independent legal analysis of its constitutionality,” Villanueva said. “That still remains in doubt, and until that issue is resolved I will not be adhering to any subpoena issued by either entity — be it the inspector general or the Oversight Commission.”
Earlier this year, the board granted the commission subpoena power. Voters in March approved Measure R, which also granted subpoena power to the commission.
The sheriff suggested the subpoena was less about county oversight and more of a political stunt.
“If the transparency is being provided and the information is provided, what exactly is the purpose of the subpoena?” he asked. “If they are engaged in a public shaming endeavor, which it looks like at face value,
well they are sadly mistaken. We are not going to be participating in that. If it is an issue about providing information so the Oversight Commission can do their job, by all means we will give them all the information we can legally give them.”
Brian K. Williams, executive director of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission said this was the third consecutive meeting where the sheriff’s department has not been represented.
A letter from the commission to the sheriff was previously requesting his presence, but the sheriff declined, Williams said.
“This is unfair to the commission, the community and the men and women of the sheriff’s department whose voice we also need to hear,” Williams said following the last meeting.
Residents can click here to watch Thursday’s meeting online from 8-11:30 a.m.