LOS ANGELES – A judge has granted a request by the union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies to intervene in a lawsuit by the county demanding that Sheriff Alex Villanueva cooperates with the Office of the Inspector General’s ongoing investigation into alleged internal LASD gangs.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant’s order on Friday allows the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff’s to participate in the county’s petition brought against Villanueva on July 7. In its court papers, the county states that although a new OIG ordinance makes clear that the sheriff must cooperate with the OIG and provide documents and information in the manner requested, Villanueva has “refused to cooperate with the OIG’s requests for access to critical records and record systems.”
According to the county’s petition, Villanueva has “flatly refused to comply” with the new statute and cooperate in the OIG’s investigation of potential deputy gangs. The legal action seeks a court order directing the sheriff to work with the OIG in its probe.
But in their motion, the union’s lawyers alleged the county failed to meet and confer with the association before adopting the OIG Ordinance, which they also say is the subject of an administrative action before the county Employee Relations Commission.
“ALADS, therefore, seeks to intervene in this lawsuit to protect its administrative action before (the Employee Relations Commission) and to ensure that all the rights of ALADS’s members are protected in the event the court grants the county’s petition,” ALADS’ lawyers stated in their court papers.
In his court papers, Harvinder S. Anand, an attorney for the county, argued ALADS should not be allowed to intervene.
“Indeed, ALADS resorts to making outright false statements, misconstruing the petition, and repeatedly conflating the oversight authority of two oversight bodies, the Office of Inspector General and the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission in an attempt to support its motion,” Anand stated in his court papers.
The Board of Supervisors created the OIG in 2014 to assist in fulfilling its supervisory responsibility and provide comprehensive oversight and monitoring of the LASD, the petition states. Instead of providing the information sought when requested to do so, Villanueva has cut off access to critical information, documents, and materials, according to the petition, which also asks that the sheriff and other LASD members make themselves available for interviews with the OIG.
The county supervisors and the sheriff have clashed over a range of matters during Villanueva’s time in office. The latest election returns show Villanueva trailing retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna in his re-election bid. Although the results are not final, Chalfant’s order directs the county and Villanueva to “meet and confer after the new sheriff takes office to see if issues can be resolved or pared down.”