LOS ANGELES – Relatives of victims who were injured or killed in deputy-involved shootings claimed they are being harassed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and the county’s Inspector General said the sheriff’s department has withheld information he needs to investigate the allegations, it was reported Friday.
The relatives claimed deputies harass them at vigils, memorials and other events, KNX 1070 reported.
An LASD official said they monitor such events because they can turn violent.
Inspector General Max Huntsman told the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission he has been denied documents and files needed to do his job, KNX reported.
The commission will be requesting the county Board of Supervisors grant it subpoena power to get the documents and files the inspector general has requested, the station reported.
The commission launched a formal investigation into the allegations in November 2019.
“Staff has been apprised of several issues that have occurred out in the community, and these issues generally occur, according to the members of the community we’ve spoken with, after there has been a deputy-involved shooting or some significant action by the Sheriff’s Department,” Brian Williams, executive director of the Civilian Oversight Commission, said at the time.
The allegations were made against patrol deputies at the East Los Angeles and Century stations.
The Centro Community Service Organization, Black Lives Matter LA and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California provided a letter to the commission last year about the alleged retaliation and harassment of grieving families.
Paul Rea, 18, of Monterey Park, was fatally shot by a deputy on June 27, 2019, during a traffic stop in East Los Angeles. Deputies said a scuffle broke out and a gun was recovered at the scene.
The letter from the civil rights organizations accuses deputies of arresting Rea’s sister, Jaylene, in retaliation for speaking out after her brother’s death.
After addressing a rally at the Hall of Justice about her brother’s death, Jaylene and other family and friends visited a memorial site. Patrol cars arrived, arrested two of Paul’s friends and when one of the men arrested handed Jaylene a marijuana cigar, also known as a “blunt,” that he had been smoking and had put out, she put it in her pocket, was searched, handcuffed and arrested her for obstruction of evidence.
She was in custody for roughly seven hours and when her phone was returned to her, videos she had taken of the men’s arrests had allegedly been deleted, according to the letter.
The letter to the COC called the arrest “an example of a broader trend of retaliation, harassment, and discourtesy against grieving family members.”
“Family members have feared that deputy sheriffs will taunt them, arrest them or even physically hurt them — not because they have done something wrong, but simply because they have spoken publicly about their loved ones’ deaths and have sought transparency and accountability,” the letter stated.