Civil rights advocates, supervisors deal with accusations of harassment of capturing victims’ households – Each day Information

In October 2019, Jaylene Rea spoke for the first time about her brother’s fatal shots by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy earlier this year at a rally outside the Los Angeles Justice Hall.

Later that evening, she was arrested – for no probable reason, lawyers said – while visiting the memorial for her brother, 18-year-old Paul Rea. After she was taken to the hospital for a few hours during which her family did not know her whereabouts, she was detained in the sheriff’s ward overnight because no staff were available to take her fingerprints, lawyers said.

The incident was among the more extreme examples of harassment by family members mourning the deaths of loved ones shot by MPs. This came from a report by a lawyer for the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles, which was made available to the public on Tuesday, May 4th. The presentation in the Justice Hall took place just before the board of directors unanimously approved a motion in which a ” In-depth investigation “of the harassment complaints filed with the Sheriff’s Department has been requested.

  • Families and lawyers hold a press conference in the Los Angeles Justice Hall after Rebecca Brown, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild of LA, published a report on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, of the harassment of family members by the LA Sheriff’s deputies County had published. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Families and lawyers hold a press conference at the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles after Rebecca Brown, far right, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild of LA, released a report on Tuesday, May 4th, about the harassment of family members by MPs of the LA County Sheriff’s. 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, stands during a press conference at the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles after Rebecca Brown, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild of LA, released a report of molestation against family members LA County’s Sheriff deputies on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

The motion, written by regulators Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell, also called for a report on ways to support families and prohibit harassment in 60 days.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva attended the virtual supervisor meeting and said he saw no evidence of such harassment. Villanueva accused the board of escalating tensions between his department and residents and rejected the language in the motion that MPs harass families on an almost daily basis.

“This language is reprehensible, it is irresponsible,” said Villanueva. “This is a false narrative that you want to promote at the expense of men and women…. the sheriff’s department. “

The sheriff said the department was conducting an investigation into the problem when it was brought to the attention of the board – and found it to be unfounded. “If you make these declaratory statements, you have no basis whatsoever to make them and degrade the reputation and law enforcement profession, especially the sheriff’s department, and to delegitimize our efforts in the eyes of the community,” Villanueva told the board.

Regarding the report, the Sheriff’s Department responded with a statement: “We are not familiar with the referenced report. Once we have had a chance to review the content, we will be able to better respond to your request. “

The report, “No Justice, No Peace: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Targeted Harassment of Grieving Families,” focuses on MPs alleged harassment of the families of Paul Rea and 21-year-old Anthony Vargas after his shooting died 13 times by MPs in August 2018. The report calls for the creation of an independent law enforcement standards office to investigate allegations of wrongdoing and a mechanism outside of the LASD to file harassment complaints.

The report’s author, Rebecca Brown, an attorney for the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, said the harassment of families of people killed by MPs prevented many from commenting on such shootings. In both cases mentioned in Tuesday’s report, prosecutors after investigations concluded that MPs had acted lawfully during the shooting. In both cases, however, families have filed lawsuits against individual MPs, the county, and the sheriff’s department.

“Some of the families who have lost loved ones to the county have been brave enough to speak up and seek justice,” Brown said. “LASD has responded to these families exercising their first adjustment rights by systematically and continuously harassing them and trying to intimidate them.”

According to the report, families were searched without guarantee, cars parked or slow-moving in their workplaces and homes, as well as rude comments, gestures and mockery – sometimes while at memorials for their loved ones.

In a September 2019 incident, Vargas’ aunt had visited a town hall hosted by Villanueva, followed by an unmarked black SUV that had tinted windows and no license plates when she drove home.

And last March, another of Vargas’s aunt, Stephanie Luna, was attending a live-streamed event discussing harassment and gangs in the sheriff’s department when several MPs showed up outside the house she was in .

Solis and Mitchell said Tuesday the amount of these types of statements they have heard from family members is too great to ignore.

“It’s hard to take a loved one away before your time,” said Solis, “but having them shot by a deputy from the LA County’s Sheriff’s Department is another trauma that makes mourning extremely difficult, if not impossible makes.” ”

Mitchell added that she was disappointed with the statements Villanueva previously made and believed that his comments showed that family members are not being heard.

“Losing a family member and then facing retaliation for asking questions about the circumstances surrounding that family member’s death is not the democratic way to go,” Mitchell said.

The supervisor Sheila Kuehl was less cautious in her comments and called the alleged behavior of the MPs “disgusting” and “youthful”.

“You certainly don’t have to experience human loss to understand basic human decency in order to be able to grieve,” said Kuehl.

The families and the author of the report also urge the county to raise allegations of misconduct by an independent agency and to impose disciplinary action based on a recommendation from Inspector General Huntsman’s office.

The application, approved on Tuesday, also calls on the Inspector General to work with families, the district attorney, and others to report back within 60 days and on alternative ways to deal with complaints.

Family members say they spoke about the alleged harassment of the county by the citizen’s oversight commission and also filed complaints – but said no action was taken.

“We did what we could and nothing was done,” said Luna. “I’m not sure what else we can do but keep talking and talking about what we’re going through because we’re not going away. We are not pushed back. We won’t be intimidated. “

“We’re watching our backs,” said Leah Garcia, Rea’s mother. “We are scared.”

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