Christal Mims, Staff
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is in the midst of developing a plan to oust Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Spearheaded by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the proposal, and co-author Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the plan reportedly consists of rounding up the board’s lawyers, inspector general, civilian oversight commissioners and acting CEO to consider options for removing or impeaching the sheriff.
“We stand firm in terms of the issue of transparency and accountability and I think it’s reasonable for the board to have the opportunity to look at this matter,” Ridley-Thomas said.
The motion, titled, “Report Regarding Options for Removing the Sheriff” expresses a lack of faith in Villanueva.
“Under the current sheriff, hard-fought vital progress is being undone, and community trust is rapidly eroding,” the motion states. “While the board has been able to navigate challenging times with previous sheriffs, this sheriff’s actions demonstrate the dire need to explore options for removing a sheriff who refuses oversight or, at a minimum, mitigating damages caused by unacceptable behavior.”
This motion comes after the civilian oversight commission called for Villanueva’s resignation earlier this month. The sheriff disregarded the call and accused the group of punishing him for investigating potential corruption.
Sheriff Villanueva has been criticized in recent months for his handling of the LASD budget, deputy-involved shootings of unarmed Black and brown residents and the unearthed information regarding deputy gangs.
“Given the recent but persistent refusal to provide the transparency and accountability that the community rightly demands, the County should consider whether the status of the Sheriff’s office should be reexamined in order to better serve the more than 10 million residents of the County,” the motion continues. “The need for mechanisms to hold an elected Sheriff accountable is painfully obvious today, at a time when communities across the County are reeling from violence – including much-too-frequent deputy involved shootings.”
The board’s motion also calls for an amendment that would allow the L.A. County sheriff to be appointed rather than elected.
“With an elected sheriff, the county has had to maneuver different ways to create checks and balances on the sheriff,” the motion states.
County officials postponed a vote to consider impeaching Villanueva that was supposed to take place on Tuesday to Nov. 10.
Villanueva responded to the motion by suggesting that the board has been reluctant to provide him with an adequate budget or the resources to do better, but that he is willing to sit down and hash things out.
“I’m reaching out. I’m reaching out across the aisle and tell them let’s sit down, let’s resolve our differences, let’s work out a memorandum of agreement with the inspector general and my office in terms of sharing information,” Villanueva said.