LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to pursue an independent review of the investigation into Thursday’s fatal shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado by a sheriff’s deputy near Gardena.
“It’s best for the family, it’s best for the community, it’s best for the department to insist that fairness, impartiality, justice is done,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said after the meeting.
Ridley-Thomas authored the motion asking the board to direct its lawyers, the inspector general, coroner and civilian oversight commission to ensure the “truth is uncovered and justice is served” after raising concerns about the integrity of the investigation.
Ridley-Thomas suggested that Sheriff Alex Villanueva — who on Monday reached out to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to ask the department to monitor the investigation — might stymie attempts by the inspector general to effectively oversee the probe.
“Unfortunately, the sheriff’s department has a track record of not fully complying with requests, and even subpoenas, from the inspector general and the (civilian oversight commission),” Ridley-Thomas said.
In the motion, Ridley-Thomas said there was a need to take immediate action “to preserve the integrity of evidence that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department may be collecting for the Andres Guardado fatal shooting investigation.”
Villanueva tweeted Monday that he was “committed to transparency and strengthening community faith in the investigative process.”
Out of an abundance of caution, I reached out to @AGBecerra for monitoring of the Guardado investigation. I am committed to transparency and strengthening community faith in the investigative process.
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) June 23, 2020
During the meeting, Villanueva took to Instagram to claim that the motion was politically driven and that he was not allowed to comment during the meeting.
“You’re silencing my vote, you’re silencing the voice of 10 million residents that put me here in this office,” he said. “I don’t know if they realize that we’re actually doing a timely investigation into the death of Andres Guardado.”
Inspector General Max Huntsman said during the meeting that sheriff’s investigators were highly skilled and capable, but an independent review was necessary to ensure public confidence in the outcome.
“When you ask the police to police themselves, inevitably members of the public wonder whether that process is being done fairly,” he said.
Guardado’s family issued a statement Monday after hearing the sheriff’s department had put a security hold on the results of Andres Guardado’s autopsy results that said:
“The family of Andres Guardado demands answers. They demand accountability. They demand, and deserve, full transparency from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department regarding the facts surrounding the death of this young man. We will not rest until these facts are fully disclosed.”
Huntsman said his office has asked to review video evidence, but had not yet received a response from the sheriff’s department.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)