LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — From Day 1, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors have struggled to see eye-to-eye — often feuding publicly on social media.
“Look at what the board has said,” Villanueva said in a Thursday interview. “I have one that said to put my big boy pants on. I’m thin-skinned. I’ve got one that calls me a liar.”
The exclusive CBS Los Angeles interview came two days after Supervisor Kathryn Barger addressed outcry over the lack of body-worn cameras within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department saying Villanueva needed to “get it done.”
“Act like a sheriff,” Barger said in that interview. “Stop whining, and saying, ‘They’re picking on me.'”
The latest push for the department to adopt the technology comes on the heels of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado by a deputy.
“From what I know so far, this is one of those cases where you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t,” Villanueva said when asked whether he thought the shooting was justifiable. “And I’m gonna leave it up to the facts to determine that.”
Villanueva also said he did not believe that the deputy was “troubled,” and that the timeline of the investigation was not due to a conspiracy, but rather due to the nature of the process.
“It’s not at the pace that people want, because everybody wants an instant answer right now and if they don’t get it somehow it’s a conspiracy,” he said. “It’s not.”
One of the sticking points for those demanding answers in the shooting is that deputies do not use body-worn cameras, but Villanueva said that was due to the board of supervisors and not the department — contradicting the board’s assessment.
“They’re always going to contradict everything I say,” he said. “We have a ream of paperwork that shows every single motion they did. You could choke a horse with all the documentation we have.”
Villanueva said that the board’s assertion that the department has the funds for the program was “a work of fiction,” but that the process was far enough along that some deputies would have the cameras soon.
“Assuming there’s no more red tape coming from the county, probably late October,” he said.
Ultimately, Villanueva said he would love to be in a position to find a way to move forward with the board, but said the board has been working in opposition to him since he was elected to office — hiring a firm to sue him during his first month.
“A lot of rocks coming my way, but I’m just focused on delivering public safety for the community,” he said. “So I just tune them out.”