LANCASTER – At a press conference Wednesday, local civil rights activists joined family members in calling for elected officials to create a civilian oversight board to look into the recent deputy-involved shootings of Darrell Logan Jr., Christian Cobian and Donald Handy.
However, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris says such an entity is not needed because the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department already has “more oversight than you can imagine.”
“Those guys are investigated and investigated and investigated and the pressure that is put upon them is enormous,” said Parris at a luncheon Wednesday. “I didn’t hear anybody come up with a reason why a citizens oversight commission is going to help.”
Questioned after his State of the City address to the AV Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, Parris acknowledged the pain felt by those who’ve lost family members due to deputy-involved shootings, but said as mayor, his support had to go to the deputies.
“I know that their families are in enormous pain and if I wasn’t the mayor of this City, I wouldn’t be making these statements, but I am the mayor of this City and I’m leading this City, and we support our deputies until there’s a reason not to and then people are held accountable,” he said.
Parris dismissed accusations that deputies were targeting minorities.
“I think a lot of people have made a lot of political traction out of that accusation,” he said.
Rather, Parris said, deputies were doing what they were supposed to do, and what the City had asked them to do.
“Hard choices are being made,” he said. “Do I think they are targeting minorities? No, I don’t. I think that they are doing their jobs.”
Parris said the City was working on a process that would teach children what they are supposed to do when they encounter law enforcement.
“We have to teach our children this is not a game, this is not a time to be the warrior, and it is certainly not the time to make hand gestures,” Parris said. “We could do a lot better teaching our young people how to relate in those situations.”