California opens civil rights probe into Los Angeles Sheriff’s Division

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California’s chief prosecutor on Friday opened an investigation into the scandal-ridden Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, investigating allegations that the agency had embroiled in a long pattern of excessive violence, illegal shootings and inmate abuse.

The civil rights inquiry follows years of allegations that the country’s largest local law enforcement agency has been haunted in its ranks by abuse that top regulators tolerated and, in some cases, covered up.

“There are serious concerns and reports that accountability and compliance with legitimate police practices have been abolished in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We’re conducting this investigation to see if LASD has violated the law or the rights of the people in Los Angeles County, ”said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who at times argued with district leaders about the direction and direction of the department, said in a written statement that he was looking forward to the investigation.

“Our department can finally get an impartial, objective assessment of our operations and recommendations in any area where we can improve our service to the community,” said Villanueva.

“During my tenure, we routinely asked the State Attorney General’s Office to oversee our investigation and we will provide immediate access to any information in our possession,” he said. We strive to start this process in the interests of transparency and accountability. “President Joe Biden has named Democrat Becerra as Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The US Senate is expected to start its confirmation negotiations in the coming days.

The also Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom, would be tasked with the appointment of Becerra’s successor, who would presumably take over the investigation.

In September, Dijon Kizzee, a black man who was stopped on his bike for an alleged vehicle code violation, was shot dead by two Los Angeles sheriff MPs after allegedly hitting an officer and dropping a gun on the floor.

The sheriff’s department has announced an internal investigation into the incident.

Kizzee’s death was the last in a series of shootings and alleged ill-treatment involving MPs. Civil rights activists have called for reforms across the department.

In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation accused 18 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s MPs, including two senior regulators, of attempting to thwart a federal investigation into abuse in the country’s largest prison system.

The then sheriff Lee Baca was one of the convicts and was sentenced to prison.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Arrangement by David Gregorio

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