Gangsters With Badges

Will LA County Supes Find a Way to Give Inspector General Subpoena Power to Probe the Problem of Gangsters With Badges – UPDATED

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

UPDATE: On Tuesday, July 23, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the motion to direct County Counsel to develop recommendations to expand the authority of the Office of the Inspector General in order to look into the issue of deputy cliques, and also to enable the OIG’s “ongoing review of matters involving the LA Sheriff’s Department,” in general.


Los Angeles Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas have co-authored a motion that, should it pass at next week’s July 23rd board meeting, appears nearly ready to grant subpoena power to the Office of the Inspector General so that the OIG can effectively investigate the deputy gangs that appear to still be running rife through the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, if recent filings of deputy gang-related civil rights lawsuits, and recent settlements of other deputy gang-related civil rights lawsuits are any indication of the matter.

“These secret societies are a dangerous problem,” the motion states. “They not only erode public trust in law enforcement and undermine the chain of command, we are concerned that they promote racism, sexism, and violence. In addition, they are a significant liability to Los Angeles County and the cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Department for the actions of deputies who choose to belong to one of these secret societies. The menacing names of these secret societies: Banditos, Reapers, Spartans, Regulators, and Vikings, may exist to intimidate not only other deputies but the general public as well.”

According to the motion, the Inspector General himself has requested expanded authority in order to have the ability to help the board “better understand of these secret societies,” as well as the ability to issue subpoenas should the Sheriff’s Department continue to deny access to information and refuse efforts by the public to hold them accountable.”

The motion indicates that the board took notice of “recent reports” that the “FBI is once again investigating the Sheriff’s Department,” this time concerning the “pervasive influence of deputy secret societies within the Department,” wrote Hahn and Ridley-Thomas.

If passed, the motion will direct County Counsel, in consultation with the IG, to develop recommendations to expand the authority of the Inspector General in order to look into, not just the issue of deputy cliques, but also to explore the idea of giving the OIG the ability to issue subpoenas “in their ongoing review of matters involving the Sheriff’s Department” in general.

All involved are to report back to the board on the matter in 30 days.

Yet, it is hard not to see the motion, if passed, also pointing beyond itself to suggest that the recent request by juvenile advocates, and the temporary probation oversight body known as the PRIT, for the soon to be created Probation Oversight Commission to have “the power to compel,” also  known as subpoena power.

So is it possible that the motion suggests that some form of subpoena power for all three bodies are being at least placed on the table? Or would giving subpoena power to the Inspector General be the most legally efficient way of providing the “power to compel” to both the soon-to-come-into-being POC, as well as the existing LASD’s Civilian Oversight Commission, since the OIG can conceivably investigate for both oversight commissions.

“This is another step forward,” said Ridley-Thomas of the motion, “in the effort to reform the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

An effort that, unfortunately, appears still to be needed.

In any case, the board is expected to vote on the motion on Tuesday, July 23.  So watch this space.


Editor’s Note:

The Campus Kilpatrick/Woolsey Fire Story is ongoing: Watch for it Part 2, Next


This story was updated at 9:46 p.m., July 16, 2019, and on July 23 at 1:13 p.m..

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the LA County Supervisors voted to give the Office of Inspector General subpoena power.

Photo at top by WitnessLA

39 Comments

  • Unfortunately or fortunately (depends on the side of the fence you are on) somebody will roll. It always happens. Who ever conducts the investigation will seek out the weak link and offer them a deal. When people start getting threats of loosing their job and/or pension the weak always crumble.

    There is no place for these bullies on the sheriff’s department, whether the bad conduct is against fellow deputies or the people they should be serving. It you can’t take a crook to jail within the guidelines of the law, and feel the need to move or fabricate evidence, well its simple. Your not a good law enforcement officer.

    AV keeps thinking he will out smart the BOS. The board will grant subpoena power. Anything they can go to make life miserable for AV they will do. Nature of the game.

  • I would have thought, the whole debacle with the FBI and last Presidental election would have at least made folks skeptical of the investigative skills of that premier, “above reproach” top law enforcement agency, the FBI. Unless you’ve been living in a bubble, are totally tuned out of national events or have had your head burried in the sand, you have to know the FBI has issues and no one, not even the US Congress, polices them.

    Whatever the results of the FBI investigation, let’s not be too quick to assume they will come in on their proverbial white horse, uncover the truth and save the day.

    • One thing for sure and that is, no Deputy in LASD will never ever attempt to intimidate a FBI Agent again.

      Reference: Pandora’s Box

    • Healthy Skeptic….

      “…And no one, not even the US Congress, polices them.”

      Somewhat.

      The FBI is also the investigative arm for the U.S. Attorney and, in that capacity, oversight comes from the U.S. Attorney.

      Good enough.

  • Any Deputy who would voluntarily talk to a FBI agent is insane. My guess s that this tattoo thing is a lot of hysteria that’s going to lead nowhere. But that doesn’t mean the FBI won’t be looking to make some high profile arrests. The FBI’s playbook is to set up perjury traps via hours long interviews so they can charge a couple of hapless Deputies with the old stand by, “obstruction of justice.” See, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up! (Who cares that the original reason for the entire investigation was never proven)

    My advice, keep your mouth shut, don’t be that guy.

    • Maj Kong

      “My advice, keep your mouth shut” to the FBI.

      I dunno about that.

      If the FBI is acting in the capacity as investigators for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which is one of the things that the FBI does, then “keeping your mouth shut” will raise in the mind of the U.S. Attorney the question: what is he trying to hide?

      Dunno if that’s a good idea.

      • Cognistator, ya you wouldn’t want to disappoint the guys on a political mission to throw a cop in jail. Don’t believe me, ask any competent attorney what you should do. Cognistator’s comment is shockingly stupid, or perhaps he’s just commenting in bad faith, rooting for the FBI to put another cop behind bars for “obstruction of justice”

  • Villanueva is in quite a pickle here. ELA Station holds a special place in his heart (saving the first row of seats for ELA personnel at his swearing in). But his beloved Fort Apache is being scrutinized by both the media and the FBI.

    These cliques will NEVER be eliminated, but what Villanueva CAN do (and what McDonnell SHOULD have done) is to identify the shot-callers (everyone knows who they are) and transfer them. If newer members take their place, transfer them too.

    I doubt he’ll do it voluntarily though. This Sheriff never made it beyond lieutenant, so he still thinks like, and identifies with, the line troops. Having never held a command position, he doesn’t know leadership means making tough decisions.

    Check out the these pics of AV with (apparently) a group of ex-cons in front of the Fort Apache logo and a HILARIOUS “Scuba Skull”…..These logos are ridiculous…skulls, guns, snakes, reapers…all about trying to look at tough as possible.

    https://www.kcet.org/shows/socal-connected/retired-la-sheriffs-department-logo-deemed-unprofessional-making-a-comeback

    • It’s more like people like you are in a pickle. You still can’t fathom how Sheriff V unseated your beloved McBuckles, and all you are left doing is throwing rocks at the guy left cleaning up the mess from four decades of do-nothing sheriffs. He canned the station captain as his first official act, and a few months later canned his second in command, each for entirely different reasons. The department is finally back up and running, recruitment and hiring is going full blast, morale is high, and crooks are coming to jail like they’re supposed to. Not bad for a guy who supposedly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

      And all of this while handling the barrage of political games leveled at him by the BOS, still sore after losing their favorite butt boy who fetched as they pleased. BTW, that group of “ex-cons” are honorably retired and current members of the LASD. I encourage you to share your opinion of them face to face.

  • There are indeed cliques who’s members sport tattoos at several stations. Only one operates as an actual “gang,” and that is the BANDITOS.

    They operate like a classic mexican street/prison gang.

    They are a scourge on the department.

  • @ Fed Up,
    Before I comment fully, can you explain your statement of…..”cleaning up mess from four decades of do-nothing Sheriffs”.
    Four decades ago would include the last 3 years of Peter J. Pitchess and the tenure of Sherman Block immediately after in 1982.

    The readers of this blog await your response before wading or storming in, have at it.

  • LASD Asstole you gotta be kidding us “Ex-Con’s” in the picture! I worked with 5 of the 7 deputies in that picture at that party. 1 became Sheriff, 2 served/serve ELA and 2 work a specialized Detective Unit. They are not Bandidos!
    The Fort Apache logo was something we were proud of as we were told of it’s origination. It’s really too bad how Liberal’s continue to try erase anything that had to do with history if YOU don’t agree with it. Maybe ANTIFA has a mask for you to wear!

  • Secret society? Oh like college fraternities ? More ado about nothing , just the ELA buffoons acting like idiots end of story, no Mafia like crimes here if there are , let’s hear about the cases, oh there are none , anti cop lawyers making money off of complete B S

  • C: Once again we are off topic. I have a question that perhaps you can ask your buddies from the ACLU? What legal legislative authority does the BOS have to grant subpoena power? I know the answer but maybe your people can enlighten us on how this is going to happen?

  • @ Fed Up,
    Still waiting on your response, re: “last four decades of cleaning up mess from do-nothing Sheriffs”.

  • C: What happened to my question? What legal authority dies the BOS have to grant anyone subpoena power? I suggested that you question your friends from the ACLU.

  • Cognistator,,,, former CRDF female Deputies I work with gave me their very graphic search stories as we discussed this settlement.
    Is there any way they [deps] can get some of the settlement money for the horrors they had to put up with during the searches?

    • Superduty;

      Two sides to every story, and it sure sounds like only one side is being told here. More bothersome, though, is that it looks like A.V is going to get the blame, even though the County Counsel says “there’s no liability”–quote from the story.

      Think I’ll go hide under the bed.

  • The depositions of retired Chief Alicia Ault and Ray Leyva regarding Carl Mandoyan is reminiscent of the Baca/Tanaka regime.

    Nothing beats transparency, truth and transcripts.

      • Villanueva’s # 1 priority was to reinstate Mandoyan. This whole caper should be appropriately dubbed “The Rabbit Hole”.
        Regardless if you care for or voted for Alex, his cronies should not be blinded by familiarity and given a pass, just because he won the election to be Sheriff.
        Personally Alex is a good guy who was done wrong along the path but this is ridiculous!
        Kudos to Chief Ault to leave with dignity as opposed to being a “Yes Ma’am” on a sinking ship.

  • Clue #1: First day on the job, AV was all about “Merit Based” promotions. Then AV turned around and promoted his cronies, despite their lack of merit or qualifications.
    Clue #2: AV promoted a narcissistic crew of deputy gangs, ELA being his first and worst.
    Clue #3: AV formed a “Truth” committee in order to obfuscate the truth of Narcissist, Carl Mandoyan. AV made sure his Truth commission used rigged data to skew results to create the favorable illusion that Carl was fit for rehire.
    Clue #4: AV currently using Carl M as his driver, body guard, advice counselor, fashion designer, you name it.

    There is a new Sheriff in town. When the going gets tough, AV speaks Spanish. AV is not afraid to go on TV and flaunt his anti Trump stance on immigration. If ICE knocks, don’t answer the door, because AV might need your vote (again) in the next election.

    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2019/07/12/la-county-sheriff-alex-villanueva-fbi-banditos-secret-society-la-times/

    • Numero Uno:

      “AV is not afraid to go on TV and flaunt his anti Trump stance on immigration.”

      Could that be why the FBI is poking around into the LASD?

      In the Marines that is called playing Diddily-Fuck.

    • Based on your keen assessment, McDonnell’s crew should have been a smashing success because of their “qualifications.” So what happened? While you’re at it, how do you “promote a narcissistic crew of deputy gangs?” I’ll confess to not know even where to start, however you seem to be able to find clues everywhere.

      • It’s not hard to find clues when you don’t turn a blind eye to your surroundings.

        The unabashed refusal to see bullshit speaks for itself, with more clues than cops in a doughnut shop.

  • Well Alicia you had the intestinal fortitude to say no. Something your predessor Chief Karyn Mannis was lacking. Enjoy your retirement Chief Mannis….a brave man dies only once….a coward a thousand times…..

  • I don’t know this Sheriff, but from I have heard and seen, he suffers from arrogance, stubbornness, and a lack of understanding as to how the executive branch of the department should work for the tax payers of Los Angeles County and the men and women of the department. I read the information on C. Mandoyan, and why the Sheriff would hire this individual back is beyond me. Even if this person is innocent of all of these charges, he has no business being a deputy sheriff. He lacks maturity, and has no common sense. In the field, he would be a danger to himself and others.

  • Once again, the media and the LibTurd community, are at it again. The article states, “better understand of these secret societies..” If they are secret societies, how are they known? The BOS are trying to do what they can to get back at AV, for what he has said and done. The false premise being utilized (“the Inspector General himself has requested expanded authority in order to have the ability to help the board”) is a facade. Since AV has limited the OIG’s scope of authority, the OIG is trying to regain its foothold once again.
    East L.A. station along with Century, Compton, South L.A. & Carson are fast, hot stations. The comradery at these stations is like no other. The station logos and tattoos are part of the culture. Nonetheless, there are a few “bad apples” who spoil it for the rest. These individuals (shot callers), should be held to task and dealt with appropriately. They either go along or get along.
    As I stated previously, AV is an intelligent individual. He is in complete control of his actions and decisions. Either he will create his success or demise.

  • Del Mese is a scum bag. Thank goodness AV got rid of him. Now AV needs to get rid of Carl, apologize to the BOS and make anyone who has a tattoo have it removed.. Otherwise he will be a one term sheriff..

    • Interesting gripe from a seriously confused person. I doubt you know either one of those individuals, let alone they know you. You have bigger issues to figure out… Like, are you a Ma’am, Sir or IT! Don’t open that door of hate and expect nothing back.

  • Hey Steph,

    I know you and Larry very well. I have no bias or allegiance with either of you. Why is Larry a scumbag? Could it be that he brought more bad guys to jail in a week than you did in your whole career (no exaggeration). Maybe a bit envious of him, and you’ve turned that into anger and jealousy.

    Larry was and is no angel. He’ll tell that to your face. We were all young once. In standing up for Deputies, Larry would rather ask for forgiveness than permission.

    You spent the vast majority of your patrol career in the WD Chair, so STFU and go do someone’s hair.

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