#GangstersWithBadges Uncategorized

Special Public Hearings on Deputy Gangs in the LASD, Part 2: The No-Show

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Thursday, June 10, 2022, the Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission (COC), held the second of its series of special hearings on the issue of deputy gangs inside the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.  

The hearings, which are being run by a special prosecutor and his pro bono team of high profile lawyers, has the advantage of being able to subpoena witnesses who are then required to testify under oath before the commission, and in front of anyone else who wants to tune in virtually.

The first of the public hearings, which was held on May 24,featured an array of witnesses, and was loaded with drama.  (You can find WLA’s account of the hearing and related events here.)

Thursday’s 9 a.m. hearing was scheduled to feature recently retired LASD Chief Matthew Burson.

Matters did not, however, go as planned.

Burson, if readers will remember, was critical to the sequence of events having to do with Sgt. Jefferson Chow, a 26-year veteran of the LASD, who in late April of this year gave a deposition under oath about his actions and experiences in the fall of 2018, when he was the lead investigator on a case being probed by the department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, or ICIB. 

Specifically, Chow was investigating whether or not crimes had been committed by a cluster of deputies who worked at the East Los Angeles station and were considered to be  “shot callers” of the Bandito deputy gang that is based out of East LA. These were the Bandito deputies who, at an after-hours party in September 2018, reportedly physically assaulted four other station deputies who were disliked by the Bandito members, allegedly for their failure to knuckle under to what the deputy clique perceived to be their authority at the station. 

It was Chow’s job to find out if there was sufficient cause for the LA County District Attorney—who was, at the time Jackie Lacey—to prosecute the Bandito deputies for their actions.

Redacted portion of Sgt. Chow’s log.

Yet, according to Chow’s deposition—along with the highly detailed log he kept as he worked the case, as the sergeant was ramping up his investigation—then-Captain Burson conveyed the message that, in the course of Chow’s interviews with eyewitnesses and others, he shouldn’t ask any questions about deputy “subcultures,” also known as deputy gangs, an issue that was at the heart of the incident.

It was Chow’s understanding that the order to steer clear of the topic of “subcultures” came straight from the top, although Alex Villanueva had only been elected as sheriff a few days before, in a surprise defeat of incumbent Jim McDonnell.

If Chow’s account is true, according to Inspector General Max Huntsman and other commission members, Villanueva’s actions may very well constitute obstruction of justice.

Thus, the COC and the special council wanted to question Burson with respect to his knowledge about whether or not Sheriff Villanueva gave direct orders that stood in the way of Chow and ICIB doing a full investigation into a deputy-on-deputy assault serious enough that two of the non-Bandito deputies were reportedly rushed to the hospital. 

The special council also said he and his investigators had heard from another department witness that Burson had indeed met with Villanueva on or about Dec. 3, of 2018, which was the day that the new sheriff was sworn in to the office.  

Four days later still, on Dec. 7, 2018, Burson told Chow not to ask questions about deputy subgroups.

It was this series of events that caused Deixler and the COC to subpoena Burson to testify on June 10.  

Yet, when the actual hearing arrived, Burson declined to show up.

“Unfortunately Mr. Burson has decided not to honor the subpoena,” Deixler told the COC shortly after 9 a.m. on June 10.

And so it was that the Civilian Oversight Commission voted to ask the court to compel Former Chief Burson to appear, like it or not.

They also voted to ask the court to compel appearances from former LASD chief-of-staff, Larry Del Mese, Chief April Tardy,  Undersheriff Tim Murakami, and Sheriff Villanueva himself.

Deixler told the COC that a lot of the witnesses he and his team have interviewed in the course of their investigation thus far, are fearful of testifying publicly at a public hearing, even if the witnesses promised complete anonymity, such as was offered to a department member witness at the last hearing. This witness was not on camera, yet testified at length with his/her voice disguised to the point that even the witness’s gender was unrecognizable.

But, despite similar promises made to many witnesses who were forthcoming in interviews, they told investigators they feared for their physical safety and/or believed that testifying in public would be “career suicide,” Deixler said.

Yet, for Burson, who is retired, presumably career damage is not the issue. 

In the case of the other working  department members who didn’t want to appear, Deixler described some of the information they provided in interviews about the East LA Station in particular. Much of this new information, according to Deixler, confirmed what had been said by the deputy who testified anonymously at the first meeting, where he/she described a pattern of humiliating and endangering those deputies working in East LA who didn’t go along with the rules of the Bandito shot callers. 

These methods, according to the newly interviewed department members, included failing to provide back-up on dangerous calls, physical assaults, loosening or removal of lugnuts on disfavored deputies’ cars, “demeaning and derogatory statements” about the deputies “over the radio,’” and the wrongful arrests of innocent civilians to inflate arrest numbers—and more.

Before the end of the Thursday’s meeting Commissioner Robert Bonner once more stressed the importance of forcing the issue in court to get Sheriff Villanueva to “appear and testify under oath before this commission about this incredibly important matter that’s infecting the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department.”  

(On a side note, for anyone who is not sure whether or not former federal judge Rob Bonner understands the pressures and difficulties of leading a large law enforcement agency  it helps to review his CV.)

Before adjournment, Bonner made sure that county counsel understood they were not to delay in any way with expediting these subpoenas, including Burson’s, and advised county counsel to file an order to show cause, and to inform Burson that he will be held in contempt, which may mean he’ll be fined and jailed, if need be,  until he decides to show-up and testify under oath.   

The next special hearing is scheduled for July 1, 2022.

And so the story continues. 


  • Your hearings are a joke. LA County has become a SHIT HOLE and you’re worried about Deputies with matching tattoos. How about investigating the BOS and find out where the billions in tax dollars for the homeless has gone. Investigate the corrupt Politicians that do absolutely nothing for the struggling families trying to survive. If the Deputies had matching “Woke” tattoos or “Rainbows”would anybody give a shit? This is nothing more than an attempt to smear Sheriff Villanueva during an election, so the LATimes and BOS can replace him with their PUPPET Sheriff.

  • Under what circumstances would it be obstruction of justice for a sheriff to stop a sheriff dept investigation? Isn’t the Sheriff in charge of ICIB? Don’t executives direct investigators to begin and end investigations all the time? Look no further than George Gascon, how many cases has he directed his prosecutors to drop?

    Witness la, in order to help bring down the sheriff, is going along with a bit of legal mischief. No doubt the “actions that may well constitute obstruction of justice” would require a lot more than the sheriff merely ending an internal investigation.

    Looks like the COC is taking a page from the feds and setting a perjury trap. Pulling in witnesses and asking as many embarrassing questions as possible in order to get them to conflict with each other and themselves. Then calling it obstruction of justice. At the minimum they plan to do as much damage as possible to the sheriff, hoping to prevent his re-election.

    The sheriff seems to understand the COC is on a mission to destroy him and he has zero interest in cooperating with them. We’ll see who wins.

  • @gj the gold reserve

    Please tell me you’re not in law enforcement. If you don’t understand that if a case was intentionally not filed with the DA to prevent the discovery of a potential crime, you need to look to another profession. Maybe a Kool-Aid stand?

    18 U.S.C. § 1503 defines “obstruction of justice” as an act that “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.”

    In this case Villanueva himself served this deputy up on April 14, 2022. It was stated in the “factual overview” the criminal case re: the kneeling UOF was presented to the JSID for prosecution. Hopefully you don’t impede (in his mind) the Sheriff’s chances of reelection.

    Regarding your COC claim. It’s interesting the electorate voted for subpoena power to call the Sheriff and anyone they find necessary to ensure oversight and transparency are enforced. Yet, the Sheriff states it doesn’t apply to him because he thinks they’re trying to destroy him. Well, the courts have debunked his idiotic reasoning before and will do it again.

    Say adios to your incompetent leader. He’ll be surely replaced by a good man in November.

  • I hope Alex saved all his cowboy hat receipts. Hopefully they’ll return his unique hats, usually custom cowboy hats sized “nincompoop” are not returnable. Maybe Creepy C will buy them back, I heard he wears the same “size”.

  • Be real
    At least your comment attempts to add some elements missing in the original witness la story. Unfortunately the resentment you feel for your mediocre career and the people you blame for it aren’t evidence. You can’t make a case for obstruction without making several suppositions, and a good deal of mind reading. But fear not, the people running this show are working hard to get around these impediments, so perhaps you’ll get your pound of flesh after all.

  • @gj the gold reserve

    A pound of flesh has already been served and the scales of justice will definitely produce more than ordered.

    Secondly, the truth to be revealed and lawlessness exposed is what I seek most importantly.

    My career speaks for itself as very successful and I’m confident in knowing I never compromised my values for personal gain.

    I am happy not to have associated myself in aligning myself with the worst Sheriff in our Department’s history.

    More facts are coming out soon, I guarantee. And hopefully you’ll side with reason.

    Best wishes.

  • @ JJ lmao!!! It’s funny how In recent days Villanueva /BB camp are starting too back pedal. Why? Because they aligned themselves with Potato Head and are now realizing their Cush spots could be in jeopardy…




    Sleepy Tim

    Creepy Carl

    Lying Blanchard


  • Be Real – Bravo and well said. Hoping for change in November; a five year old could do better.

  • I find it appalling the Sheriff sent two executives to parrot the denouncing of the COC on a day of mourning for two fallen peace officers. God speed to them. God bless your souls.

    This looks tasteless and desperate as his lead in the primary has shrunken to 5.8% over Luna.

    My guess is he is in a fetal position, repeating “find a happy place,” as the COC and the electorate are seing him for who he is.

    Hasta la Vista AV!

  • Well, well, well…. Hopefully Potato Head recovers from the ‘Rona (allegedly)…. poor bastard is morbidly overweight and delusional, God speed Chubbs. Thoughts and prayers, since he’s so religious as of a few months ago, God’s gotta be on his side. Hopefully SweetPea and Creepy Cee are negative, wait, that’s all they are, NEGATIVE!

  • Alejandro should send “Detective Sergeant” Michael G Shaw from ICIB (he promoted to Lieutenant in 2020) to the C.O.C and see what he knows from getting into the weeds.

  • The orders from Supreme Command now direct the Captain to “appear” transparent. After all, the election is less than 5 months away and Villanueva’s woke left conspiracy theories have been rejected by the intelligence of the electorate, from all sides of the aisle.

    It really does speak volumes that a representative of the Sheriff would immediately dismiss allegations of discrimination as fiction.

    Sounds like it is ok to downplay a potential issue affecting the community, because well, the boss does it.

    Can’t wait for November. Don’t expect him to give a concession speech though.

  • https://twitter.com/AleneTchek/status/1537925141908189187

    And those dang Alejandro ordered coverups just keep coming up at the worse TIMES!!!

    So does anyone care to predict how much all of these Illiterate Alex generated lawsuits are going to end up costing the LA County taxpayers in the end; well after Allie and Bibi get evicted out of the Hall of Justice?

    Vanessa Bryant? $$$$$$$$
    Cmdr Castellano? $$$
    A/S Robin Limon? $$$
    Chief Hasselrig? $$$
    Chief/Cmdr Vera? $
    And a few others TBA? $$$

    Adios Alex & Sweatpee

  • “At the oversight commission hearing, Inspector General Max Huntsman testified that the prosecutors who declined to file battery charges in the station party fight case didn’t know the full story, because the Sheriff’s Department’s investigation did not look meaningfully at allegations that the deputies who instigated the fight were Banditos members.
    “The manner in which this case was investigated and presented amounted to a cover-up — essentially obstruction of justice,” Huntsman testified”

    “Burson had been promoted from captain to chief. He said in his declaration that he was not offered a “quid pro deal” to cover up deputy gangs in exchange for a promotion, though he did acknowledge that “the timing of it might look suspect.”


  • “At the time, Burson said he was given instructions on behalf of the incoming sheriff on how to handle the case: Investigators, he was told, should avoid questions about the Banditos, the gang-like group of deputies whose members were accused of instigating the fight.
    “I assumed there was a valid reason for it, and followed orders,” Burson said in a sworn declaration filed in court Tuesday. “I did not at that time suspect any ulterior motives, including a cover-up.”
    Villanueva did not immediately respond Tuesday morning to questions about why he passed down those orders”

    ☝Lie to Internal affairs=fired
    Refiuse to speak with Internal Affairs=fired

    These are the subpoena ignoring folks submitting cases on their line staff to the D.A. the problem isn’t that you don’t show up. But rather that you don’t know how to show up. Hypocrites!!!


  • Oh anonymous, I heard first hand that climate at SIB was that of defeat. Obviously, everyone who matters (voting public) cares. Say 67% percent that demanded AV be gone!

    Stop, for the sake of yor dignity.

  • Yes, people do care nimrodanonymous…. Alex has roughly 30% of the vote, embarrassing. So when you are ushered away, along with the other bafoons, we’ll all be laughing. So hopefully Bibi, Creepy Karl, and the likes of BatWoman and gang enjoy these last few months playing “in charge”………. Buh Bye weirdo’s!!!!!

  • It’s Hillarious how the Villanueva peeps are trying so desperately too convince others and myself too vote for their boy.
    Sorry but I stopped drinking kool-Aid when I was 12.
    And yes we do care anonymous.



    Sleepy Tim


    Lying Blanchard


  • What a perfect way for illiterate and crippled Alex & his loving Sweatpee to ride off into the darkness. Whupped, embarrassed, a boatload of lawsuits, and The Rona!

    Ms. Karma, you are even better than Santa Claus. Mucho Gracias!

    Adios Alex & Sweatpee

    P.s., please don’t forget to wake up and take Mr. Magoorakami with you on your way out. Maybe Bigglesworth Burcher & Batman can assist you with lugging out that deadweight.

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