The Civilian Oversight Commission continues their probe into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department by calling in former deputies to sway public opinion in an attempt to remove the current Sheriff from his elected position.
The commission’s July 1 special meeting revealed interesting tidbits, but the commission didn’t go far enough in questioning one particular former deputy who admitted to being a member of the Grim Reapers.
Deputy cliques, which some akin to a “gang” have been a source of contention for the department for decades. Many department insiders have become elected officials, like Jeffrey Prang, who was once a close confidant of Sheriff Lee Baca who has never been called by the commission to testify on such matters.
Instead, they called up a former Black deputy, Matthew Burson, who testified he was asked to delay an investigation into an off duty party attended by members of the East Los Angeles station that resulted in a fight.
The narrative has been that despite Sheriff Villanueva disciplining 26 deputies, he didn’t go “far enough” to establish a connection between the fight and the deputy clique alleged to be running that station. And neither did the oversight commission.
The death of 18 year old Andres Guardado was alleged to be the result of deputies attempting to “earn” their way into a tattoo that some deputies have in the Compton Station. The tattoo has been enjoined to “The Executioners” where it is alleged a deputy has to kill someone to get it. Deputies from the station, who have attended inking parties, testified that those who get the tattoo do so for being an exemplary deputy.
After a judge threw out a lawsuit filed by a deputy from the Compton station who alleged he was retaliated against for “whistleblowing” failed to provide proof to substantiate his claims. The commission has now double backed to the East Los Angeles station.
The Sheriff’s former chief of staff Larry Del Mese admitted under oath that he belonged to an alleged deputy clique known as the Grim Reapers.
The media ran with the opportunity to connect a member of the Sheriff’s inner circle as a member of a “gang” which even District Attorney George Gascon doesn’t find simple allegations of a person either “knowing” or “associating” with alleged gang members as a crime.
In fact, Gascon has created an entire commission of former victims and gang interventionists to insist it’s not a crime to simply know people and hang out with them who are alleged to be in a gang.
The commission failed to ask the most pertinent follow up question which is the basis of their entire narrative of their desire to “rid” the department of deputy gangs.
Why didn’t special counsel ask Del Mese if he got the tattoo for killing someone as it is continuously being alleged as how you get one?
If Villanueva didn’t go far enough to establish a connection between the tattoo and the fight, neither has special counsel in establishing a connection between Del Mese’s grim reaper tattoo and a murder of a citizen?
Del Mese claims he no longer has the tattoo on his body. A former Sheriff’s candidate is also in a widely spread “database” of alleged deputy “gang members” in the department and dismissed his tattoo by saying it’s “covered up” with a dragon.
Are this commission and democrat party willing to offer immunity and shield alleged murderers in an effort to discredit the current Sheriff?
Emilie St. John is an opinion writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.