#JusticeBriefs Alex Villanueva

Inspector General issues new subpoena for LA Sheriff & also says Villanueva may break multiple laws with threat to launch criminal investigation into leaking of “bad optics” head-kneeling video

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Thursday evening, April 7, Inspector General Max Huntsman and his office issued a brand new subpoena to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

The last subpoena from Huntsman, which the sheriff is still fighting, required Villanueva to answer questions under oath about the department’s deputy gang problem.

This new subpoena is focused on the now notorious March 10, 2021, incident involving LASD deputy Deputy Douglass Johnson who, in the course of attempting to subdue and handcuff a man named Enzo Escalante in the in the holding area of the San Fernando Courthouse, kneeled on Escalante’s head as he lay on the floor, then reportedly continued to kneel for more than three minutes after the man had stopped struggling.

All of this was captured on video, and months later the video was leaked to the LA Times.

In the case of this most recent subpoena, Villanueva doesn’t have to actually appear if he has delivered to the Office of the Inspector General by 10 a.m. on April 22, 2022, the stack of records listed in the subpoena having to do with the matter of the head-kneeling by Deputy Johnson, and the reported cover-up of the incident by the sheriff, and other high-level department members. 

The specific documents on the head-kneeling matter required by the subpoena are the following:

  1. a)  All Communications to, or from, any employee of the Sheriff’s Department relating to the use of force against Enzo Escalante at the San Fernando Courthouse on March 10, 2021.
  2. b)  All Communications to, or from, any employee of the Sheriff’s Department relating to whether and how to conduct the investigation of the use of force against Enzo Escalante at the San Fernando Courthouse on March 10, 2021, and/or the investigation of the reporting of the use of force to the Office of Inspector General or any other party.
  3. c)  All Documents and Information, including but not limited to any electronic evidence, records, and/or logs, from March 10, 2021, to the date of this subpoena, of any employee in the Sheriff’s Department command staff including, but not limited to, Sheriff Villanueva, former Chief LaJuana Haselrig, Undersheriff Tim Murakami, Assistant Sheriff Limon, Lieutenant Blanchard, and/or any other aides to Sheriff Villanueva, related to the viewing of video of the use of force against Enzo Escalante on March 10, 2021, including any electronic and/or paper evidence of any viewing of the video prior to November 18, 2021.

In other words, the IG’s office wants all the material pertaining towho knew what, when about the use of force incident that, while it didn’t seriously injure Escalante, had disturbing visual echoes of the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Dereck Chauvin. Thus, because of the “bad-optics” of situation, several LASD higher-ups, most prominently the sheriff, reportedly did all they could to keep the incident out of the public’s sight.

“The OIG has learned of allegations that the video of the referenced incident was handed over to Division Chief LaJuana Haselrig, who then personally played the video for Sheriff Villanueva and Undersheriff Tim Murakami, Assistant Sheriff Limon, and the Sheriff’s aide, Lieutenant Blanchard,” wrote Huntsman and his office in the “declarations” supporting the subpoena request.

“The OIG is aware of allegations that this occurred before the date that Sheriff Villanueva has publicly claimed to have first learned of the incident, November 18, 2021.”

Yep. And there are way too many people with knowledge of this matter to convincingly obscure the real timeline.

Since the Inspector General intends to investigate all of the above and more, he has now requested via subpoena the material on the topic to which he and his office are legally entitled.

Going after the whistleblower

Interestingly, in the supporting material, the OIG also points to Sheriff Villanueva’s recent announcement on Fox News, that he has initiated a criminal investigation into the actions of the whistleblower or whistleblowers within the department who leaked the head-kneeling video to the Office of Inspector General and to the LA Times.

If Villanueva goes ahead with this criminal investigation, according to Huntsman, he could violate a list of laws, including the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and/or the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments

Regarding the First Amendment, the OIG points to Garcetti v. Ceballos, a 2006 ruling holds that while a public employer can regulate on-duty speech, public speech, such as reporting misconduct, is protected.

Concerning the Fourth and Fourteenth, the OIG cites the SCOTUS ruling of Thompson v, Clark, a decision that came down on April 4, 2022, which—among other things —protects the members of the public against “malicious prosecution” by law enforcement.

In any case, since the sheriff has made a habit of not complying with subpoenas from the Inspector General and/or the Civilian Oversight Commission, it will be interesting to see if he complies with this one.

More as we know it.


  • Well folks, the table is now set for obstruction of justice. All the players are in a “no win” situation. If they comply with the subpoena and turn over the evidence, they are all screwed, and if they chose instead to hide or destroy the documents, they face going to prison (does Pandora’s Box ring a bell?). There is, however, one other option – that is, run for LACERA.

  • We all know Alejandro will ignore this latest IG subpoena as there is no way he wants this cover up to be validated before the election.

    Everyone in the know, knows that Allie and Viv are panicked over this one. Why you ask? Well, simply because it’s true, and too many people know about the sloppy video viewing “premiere” in front of some innocent professional staff personnel who happened to be in the cheap seats. In fact, there have been recent late night “debriefings” to gently ensure all memories by such pro staff members have been [explained] as “here is what you think you saw” as opposed to what you actually saw.

    Panicked LaJuana couldn’t get out of Dodge fast enough as she knew the VILLANueva short bus would be used to run her over first.

    In fact, the only one with an ironclad “I don’t know nutin” alibi is emperor undersheriff Mr. Magoorakami as he will claim to have fallen asleep during the premier’s opening credits and later awoke from his daily slumber in a darkened nearby cubicle hours after all sheriff’s office personnel had gone home for the evening. Dang noisy late night cleaning crews make so much noise.

    Adios Alex & Sweatpee

  • Did u hear about the 50+ year old deputy who was supposedly caught orally copulating a 14 year child? Deputy gangs (happening for the last 30 years), training officer/trainee relationships, female inmate’s getting sexually assaulted, and children being assaulted…BY COPS. How much longer is this dept. going to be standing?!?!

  • Someone tell the emperor he has no clothes.

    Sheriff Villanueva publically announced he is retaliating. Criminal and Internal Affairs investigations are routinely used as tools for retalaition.

    Power corrupts character, but it’s not only Sheriff Villanueva. He can’t accomplish retaliation alone. It takes every willing WEAK COWARD deputy, investigator, sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, executive to be tools first, do his bidding in exchange for position or rank.

  • Maybe the current regime of major financial backer (ALADS) will see the light and act like they have “a pair” and just say NO! for next election.

    ALADS’s last regime acquiesced and kissed the ring & lower backside of Alex, while gifting him 1.3 smackeroonies. That pretty much made A.V. one of the boys.

    Look no further than the ALEX’S Sheriff Facebook page which draws in all of his followers with smooching & drinking his Kool-aid. Get your popcorn and peanuts for the upcoming show, see ya there.

  • Meanwhile, US mail carriers can’t and won’t deliver mail in a Santa Monica neighborhood due to crime. Again, the Inspector General and the political establishment has it all wrong. Start standing up for victims and support the Sheriff in making our community safer. People are fed-up and sickened by this!

  • @Meanwhile, sounds like you are getting paid to say this, maybe by Villanueva’s political campaign.
    Santa Monica is not Sheriff’s jurisdiction, they have their own police department. Stop using Sheriff’s resources for personal service and campaigning. The Sheriff did not care about cleaning up Venice until it was time to start campaigning. I find it interesting that he is using LASD resources to clean up affluent areas of LA County that are outside of LASD jurisdiction in exchange for campaign donations from businesses/residents in those areas, why doesn’t he go clean up disadvantaged county areas. You want facts take a look at the public record campaign donation list. Yes LASD is LA County and you will claim constitutional jurisdiction but if you were smart you would have know that the California Constitution recognizes two types of Counties; general law counties and charter counties. LA County is a Charter County which means the state constitution through legislature has delegated to the county the functions that belong to the state, sounds like you fell asleep during political science class in high school which is where you would have learned this. Villanueva needs to stay in his jurisdiction, or run for sheriff in a general law county.

  • Fed up: you’re right on the money. Also consider the fact that Alex continually bellyaches about lack of funding and personnel, but then turns around to do the publicity stunts in LA City areas, using department personnel and resources. Which is it, Alex? Poor as a church mouse or reckless spending like a drunken sailor?

  • I did it. I released the video to the media. Come and get me Alex. Send your contraband smuggling Mark Lillenfeld to get me with his secret police. Or have your Cyber Crimes and ICIB puppets look me up. Write a phony warrant and initiate a bogus criminal investigation. Please!! Then I’ll see ya in Federal court for punitive damages.

  • Daryl Gates! Wow… yhea he was controversial for sure. Those days are long gone and the Art of being a good COP are gone too. 25 26 yr old deputies fearing to work a real patrol station and putting in the work. no cajones! No brains, lazy. Neanderthal knuckle dragging idiots. And you wonder why the department pays millions in settlements… AV is no Daryl Gates by a long shot. AV and all his ELA homies a kick in the pants my ass…thats what he needs the ELA Boot out the door with all his BS… at the end the truth will prevail. They dont call him VillaNaka for nothing!

  • @Jim

    It was me. All those who released the video please stand up BAH-ahaha!!!! Bye Bye Alex

  • Ironic that ALADS has been duped and bamboozled again, which is no surprise. Former presidents of ALADS with egos bigger than ALADS budget have always slipped away after the damage is done. Remember F.H. and R.H.?

    For the ALADS Board of Directors, obviously you are all thinking, In the words from the movie Tombstone, “How the hell did we get ourselves into this”?


    A final note to a once great union, You are not only pissing away money but ALADS legacy as well.

  • Well, well, well, lookie lookie here. Alejandro’s distraction and run out the media cycle clock strategy appears to have failed this time as this cover up story seems to have some legs. Good job by ABC7 for digging deeper and pressing for more details. Just like a typical suspect detention, Vendido VILLANueva goes into the “these aren’t my pants” and then proceeds to change his story on which date and/or months he wants us to believe that he first saw the (George Floyd type of knee on the neck) video. I guess he’s suffering from the Garcetti like “Unintentionally Blended Numbers or Dates” Satterfield Syndrome.

    No way could the Eli Vera’s logical timeline of them all watching the video in March around the start of the Officer Chauvin trial be a legit date and reason for them to follow Alex’s sage advice to bury, obstruct and punish Cmdr Castellano for daring to hold the Kobe Bryant picture sharing, GT Neck Knee deputy accountable. This brainiac deputy must be Creepy Carl’s brother and partner with all of the protection Allie and Bibi are trying to give him.

    Looking forward to the next story on this unfolding box of lies. Pandora’s Box???

    from ABC7: LA County Sheriff Villanueva accused of covering up violent jail fight between deputy and inmate
    Video shows a deputy put his knee on a jail inmate’s neck for more than 3 minutes.
    By Rob Hayes


    Adios Alex & Sweatpee

  • Mountain out of a molehill.

    Inmate Enzo Escalante, facing multiple charges including murder (see the CBS report on that) punched Deputy Johnson in the face multiple times & the fight started.

    The underlying principle in excessive force is that when resistance ceases force ceases, and Deputy Johnson exceeded that limit by three minutes.

    But he was punched in the face multiple times by an inmate facing murder charges.

    Who can blame him?

    Not me.

    Mountain out of a molehill.

  • Hey PPOA when are you going too stand behind a candidate? If not let me know for I can put in a drop card…

  • what’s crazy is how Robin Limon now knows her time with AV was in Vain, he sent Emperor Kami to her house to offer her to be the Captain at NCCF and she declined, now she’s throwing tantrums and ignoring everyone’s phone call because AV (with the OJ knees) is no longer her bff. Know what we should do? Get a statement from Papa Scott or McBuckles about this it would make it all come full circle.

  • @JDIC

    “what’s crazy is how Robin Limon now knows her time with AV was in Vain”

    Per Transparent Ca:
    2017 Lieutenant salary – $162,707.00
    2020 Assistant Sher. salary – $324,930.00

    And that is with her going from lieutenant in 2017 to chief in 2018, a magical promotion of 3 ranks, and asst. sheriff the following year, for a total of 4 ranks in 2 years, or an average of 6 months/rank.

    I’m not sure how to describe her time with AV, but “in vain” doesn’t seem to capture it.

  • @ Rakkasan, Re: mountain vs molehill.

    Opinions don’t matter but facts do. Truth be told, the cover-up is always worse the the crime (actio ns).

  • Wow…this doesn’t look good for Alex!

    Gee…I really hope nobody finds out about, or looks into the fact, Alex just reinstated to full duty Lt. Howard Fuchs, after he was R.O.D. for being arrested and charged with felony spousal assault by Beverly Hills PD.

    I hope nobody finds out that Fuchs (Alex’s Buddy) was highly intoxicated and armed at the time and had been driving a county vehicle. I hope nobody finds out Fuchs had just promoted and was on promotional probation at the time and the entire incident was captured on camera, including his drunken belligerent encounter with Beverly Hills PD being captured on their BWC’s.

    I hope nobody finds out Alex had his minions intervene into Beverly Hills PD’s investigation, in order to get his buddy out of trouble and encourage them not to add charge Fuchs with kidnapping, despite the video clearly showing Fuchs forcefully pulling and dragging his wife from one location to another clearly against her will.

    I hope nobody realizes or brings to light Alex’s two-tiered standards for discipline. Fuchs was not only reinstated to full duty but somehow remained a lieutenant and kept his coveted spot at Narcotics. Any other Department member would have been demoted and fired in shame for the same unbecoming and illegal conduct….that is unless you’re buddies with Alex!! Must be nice!

    I hope this incident can just get quietly swept under the rug and hidden like he’s trying to do. I hope nobody finds out or looks into this matter…I would imagine this wouldn’t look good to the public or others on the department in this highly scrutinizing time for law enforcement….especially during an election year.

    I hope nobody finds out about this….that would be bad!

  • Curious if any forum in the future will be without Sheriff Villanueva.
    He would basically incriminate himself or maybe not as he does not take an oath to tell the truth.

  • Its all about who you know! If you think promotions are bcz you hook n book and are ethical and stellar. You got another thing coming. There are approximately 10 CPT spots open and a few commander/chiefs spots. Unprecedented! we all ready know who will get those spots tho. All the fast trackers and boot lickers. Robin and La Juana got what they deserved for turning the blind eye. A demotion is a demotion and you will retire at the rank you got demoted to. Castellanos needs to go to for being a Ratatouille aint no telling how many careers he has ruined along with all the bafoons who are running against AV. The Deputy should have been fired along time ago. Were you trained to kneel on the neck or head while using force? Yhea he was sucker punched but there was plenty of back up to handle swiftly. Mr. Teflon deflects and blamed it all on his BFFs but I am sure La Juana is golfing somewhere and Robin is getting ready to do the same. Who’s next in this train wreck? Wasn’t Julius caesar taken out by his senate? Go ask Eli and Allen… folks dont promote bcz they give a shit about the little guy… they do it to secure hefty pensions at CPT pay and above. And of course…the Power trips

  • Unfortunately, it seems like ethics are at an all-time low right now at LASD. Take for example, accounts of the Acting Captain at Lakewood Station “working” an astounding amount of field sergeant overtime the past few months without being 10-8, without being logged on to an MDC, without actually being on the in-service that day (overtime hired in sms and added to the in-service many days after the date allegedly worked), or even being at the station during those hours. Oh, and don’t forget “dummy logs” created many days after said overtime but lacking vehicle and mileage information. What a sad misuse of taxpayer dollars. Somebody please help LASD!

  • @PLM Prince – I hope Celeste or some other member of the media looks into this. If your info is accurate, the whole thing stinks. People get discharged for less…

  • PLM Prince must be feeling inadequate. His/Her story is nothing but a false narrative.

  • @Long Arm

    Is this the same Acting Lakewood Captain that was hiding in the bathroom during the lieutenant exam giving out answers? Everything coming out of the closet now or shall we say bathroom.

  • @ PLM Prince? No way really? In that case then, I hope no one looks at how AV closed an investigation against the MFTO from SLA, and how he was able to keep his pension, and retire unscathed. From Vivians mouth to AV’s ears Ironic him and Caren Carl are BFF’s, all facts. No one challenges AV or they’re banished

  • @Mutual Assured Destruction look into it…it’s not difficult at all. It’s completely factual. If you need help let me know…….

  • Cooking the books the OT books is nothing new. Loop holes in SMS. Reinststing his buddy you said Narco right? Isnt the new AS Francisco from Narco another Skipper? The women that he promoted or demoted have been on the LASD over 30 yrs. They got passed over by Banaka Scott and McDonell so in thuth they are deserving of those promotions. No it doesnt look good but it doesnt look good when you have newly promoted Sgts that dont work the field and are given admin jobs they will be your nxt LTs CPTs Cmndrs and so on. Its all a sham taking care of their friends

  • I had quit reading WitLA when Celeste shut down the comments (frankly I got ass sick of the many childish pot shots going ons as she did), but in reading these comments about the current inner workings of my once proud Department, I am saddened at what I read. Yes, shit happened back in the day (pre Baca), but what has happened under AV’s reign is so reminiscent of the Baca/Stonich/Tanaka days I want to puke. Sad, simply sad. As has been pointed out so well by “Adios Alex & Sweatpee” in the comment section of the article re AV threatening to bring criminal action against the whistleblower, AV has been in over his head from the beginning and has made errors in judgement time after time. BUT, errors in judgement is one thing, a lack of integrity and a defunct moral compass is something else again. Over and over again his poor judgements also reflect a lack of integrity or values that do not reflect what is right vs what is wrong. You can go over “Adios Alex $& Sweatpee’s” recapping of AV’s decisions and you will see a consistent pattern of value errors. Read the comments above. If half are true and valid. Same thing – values are off kilter.

    Yes, Kool-Aid drinkers, AV has done some good things and I applaud those things. However, you have to look at the bottom line. The man is deeply flawed. His first career with the LASD was nothing but him being going from one place where he was disliked to another to be dislike again and again. No, not because of his ethnic background (otherwise half the department would have been “disliked”), but because he is a flawed individual who’s personality and personal traits were not up to the standards of the LASD and the LASD culture. Now that he is the head of the LASD, he has free reign to do as he pleases and his flawed and substandard personality has led to where he’s at today; with his back to the wall hoping against hope, that he doesn’t have to have a run-off election in November where there are endorsements for the office and his 4 year tenure in office becomes something the voters actually look at and examine.

    Alex, you spent your entire first career complaining about how you thought the Department wasn’t run right, then you went right out and spent your second career running the department totally wrong. All I can say is, you proved yourself totally wrong both times. Time to go….again.

  • Anyone who know’s Alex know’s this: he’s a nerd. He’s never been accused of being a “street cop”. He’s a goofball. Look, this is for the Dept members, “Alex is a geek”. Has he tried to help us line folks? “Yes!” Absolutely. But he’s a goofball. Fighting everyone from the BOS to the IG to the LA Times. Yes, he looks like he cares for us, but no, he doesn’t! Alex loves himself, actually he loves the position. If he really “loved” LASD, he’d know when to STFU, but he can’t. He’s a VICTIM. Always has been. Sued to get promoted, sued for everything. Blames his disposition on the race card, the white man, etc. He’s a fool folks, and worse yet, is surrounded by BIGGER fools that TELL him what to do. It’s pathetic. I know, you’re gonna suspect all his political foes for this post, NOPE. Alex is a fraud, a weenie, and worse yet, a fool. We’ve seen this man in action, you all know this, he’s not fit for this position.

  • Editor’s Note:

    Dear Pan Dulce and Admin…..

    Please clean up your last two comments, and in the case of Admin, your screen name, and you can resubmit. (I’m not referring to the comment directly above.)

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


  • Celeste, I just wanted to thank you for reactivating the comments section on your site. Just in time for the election and soooooooo entertaining and informative.

    Adios Alex & Sweatpee

  • Thanks for that Pan Dulce. What a refreshing take presumably from someone on the inside. That’s how I read it anyhow. This man and the Co-Sheriff have stolen many LACERA dollars with their “lotto winner” mentality of handing out prizes to friends who don’t have a hunch, let alone a clue.

    It’s a shame the guy ended up being a sham. This Dept will continue to suffer a lot longer because of he and his wife.

    Let’s hope the voters know this. But who knows, maybe they won’t have to. I have heard some of those who witnessed his public demonstration of obstructing justice on the 8th floor have already retained counsel to remain out of prison. If anonymous is right, the conspiracy didn’t end with the cover-up. Debriefings to witnesses to cover their tracks should provide even more ammo to the Feds. Amateurs.

  • Vera says he would enforce the Vaccine Mandate. Talk about pandering, Vera is good at it and is trying to sell it to the public…lol. How in the heck did PPOA allow this to happen? Unbelievable, and laughable!!!!!

    PPOA is a sham and is not for its members. Over 300 voted for Villanueva and less than 75 voted for Vera.

    Can you spell…… C O R R U P T I O N?

    Stay tuned.

  • @Huevitos
    Exactly my friend. PPOA is engaged in fighting the County on firing employees on the vaccine mandate, yet endorses a candidate who would fire union members. What a sham….

  • Rakkasan, who cares what he says? He’s NOT inked!!! What’s he g0ing to say? And what can he offer? LET ME OFFER YOU THE ANSWER: “NOTHING!!!!” Why does anyone think he’s going to say something crazy? Other than U/Sheriff Murakami was inked as a red devil but got it covered up? Who care’s? What else does he have to 0ffer? Creepy Carl? Yes, he has a tattoo. But everyone know the tattoo should be a “RAT”. Yes, he’s a rat. YES, CREEPY CARL IS A RAT, A FREAKEN RAT….. (Celeste, I’m not naming anyone by name. “carl” is a fictional name, legally, I am referring to the Carl Marx character from, you know the story!….

  • Pan Dulce:

    “Why does anyone think he’s going to say something crazy?”

    ANSWER: Past is prelude to the future.

    He’ll be up for at least 90 minutes under oath; lessee what happens.

  • Rakkasan, you’re speaking in tongues… Alex knows (almost) every station has a tattoo. Of course, it’s simple, there’s nothing criminal, no gang nonsense. But Alex has had the opportunity to end the nonsense, and he hasn’t. Partly because Creepy C thinks otherwise. This is another great example of Alex’s ineptness. He can’t lead because he is a weenie, a geek, a nerd. Everyone knows this….

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