By Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
As a County Supervisor, I’ve done everything I could to bring appropriate oversight and supervision to the LA County Sheriff’s Department, a department that has become more and more uncontrolled and troubled under the current Sheriff. It has continued to be plagued with wrongful death and excessive force lawsuits which have to be paid for with taxpayer money, and has run up a ballooning deficit. Current law gives the Supervisors limited legal authority over the Sheriff.
Make no mistake. Today’s search warrant is not motivated by a desire to get to the bottom of a Metro contract that dates from seven years ago. The process by which this contract was awarded never involved me and, indeed, the first I knew of it was an invite to a Metro press conference announcing it.
The basis of this search was questionable and will be investigated.
This morning’s storming of my home by deputies with bulletproof vests and tactical gear was an effort to harass, intimidate and retaliate against a public figure who has been an outspoken critic of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. I am not the only such critic, and other courageous County leaders have also been the targets of this Sheriff’s vindictiveness.
As a Supervisor, I have insisted that the Sheriff take steps to reduce deputy-involved shootings, meaningfully address the existence of known gangs in his department, cooperate with the Office of the Inspector General in its investigations, comply with subpoenas issued to elicit needed information about the department, appear before the County’s Civilian Oversight Commission to address community concerns, and, like the heads of more than 30 other County departments, to operate within a balanced budget.
Today’s early morning search of my home was a thuggish attempt to intimidate and silence not just me, but many other public servants who are working hard to rebuild the trust between law enforcement and the communities it is supposed to serve.
About the author: Supervisor Sheila James Kuehl was first elected to represent Los Angeles County’s Third District on Nov. 4, 2014. She assumed office on Dec. 1, 2014, and was reelected to her second term on November 6, 2018.
Previous related story: Sheriff’s investigators search LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s home