Los Angeles County residents will go to the polls in June to elect a sheriff. With a crowded field incumbent Alex Villanueva announced exceeding $1 million in campaign contributions, while the air in the presumed “top contender’s” campaign is running low on oxygen. Newly released documents detail that Cecil Rhambo’s tenure as a deputy ain’t all peaches and cream.
Cecil Rhambo announced his intentions to run for Sheriff on a “reform” platform that could very well apply to him if he were still employed as a deputy in the department.
Rhambo was asked point-blank questions, about his involvement in [fatal] shootings, and his answers can either be interpreted as an omission or a lie. For the sake of this article, we will defer to “omit”.
KnockLA reporter Cerise Castle obtained an interview with Rhambo where she asked him about his involvement in fatal shootings.
“I’ve been involved in shootings — the person just didn’t die. I got robbed in early 1990, ’91. It was an attempted robbery at a Bank of America teller at night, and the suspect drew his gun and I saw him drawing his gun. And so, we kind of drew down on each other at the same time, and I was fortunate enough to get my shots off first. Fortunately for him, he ran five blocks and collapsed and said he was a victim of a drive-by and they left his gun there,” said Rhambo.
Department records detail Rhambo was involved in three shootings, with two involving him shooting fellow deputies.
The shootings occurred in a span of three consecutive years beginning in 1987.
Rhambo was a member of a narcotics team, called in to assist a burglary team, out of the Lennox Station, on surveillance of a suspected narcotics operation. HUH?
During the course of attempting to enter the home, Rhambo encountered three pit bulls and started shooting at them. He missed.
The gunfire caused the other deputies to unload their department issued weapons. Rhambo let off the most rounds. 18 to be exact.
Somehow, Rhambo was called upon multiple times, from members of the Lynwood station to “assist”, and the team he assisted included a white supremacist. The Lynwood station would become part of a federal case of abuse at the hands of the station’s deputies, which could include Rhambo seeing that he was trusted by them to “assist” on certain calls.
Rhambo declined to comment on the documents released, which have Sheriff Sherman Block’s name on them.
Policing in the 80s had to be tough with the crack epidemic at its crescendo. According to two previous Compton mayor’s, and the current mayor of Inglewood, those days of policing were tough.
On the flip side, you had one Compton mayor so fed up with the allegations that the members of his department were allegedly robbing drug dealers, to deal the drugs themselves, the council disbanded the Compton Police Department, and Cecil Rhambo was handpicked to run the newly created Compton Sheriff’s Station because he “grew up” in Compton.
Decades later, Rhambo would return to Compton as its city manager, and after assuming the role, he was faced with a massive theft of a cache of guns from the old Compton City Hall, the city clerk was alleged to be found in possession of hundreds of thousands of dollars in her city hall office, and he sat for a deposition on claims of the City performing warrantless search and seizure of cannabis dispensaries.
Thirty-five years is a long time to reflect on ways the same system Rhambo seeks to “reform” is the same system that afforded him the opportunity to continue to promote to the #3 in command of the department, despite multiple deputy involved shootings, which included shooting one of the supervisors on the scene.
You can read Cerise Castle’s full article here I’m about to go watch Training Day.