Gangsters With Badges Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Supervisor Hilda Solis Says Secret Deputy Cliques Have Plagued the LA County Sheriff’s Department For Decades

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

Supervisor Hilda Solis has decided it is way past time for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to deal with its deputy gang problem.

“The belief that secret subgroups exist has plagued the Sheriff’s Department for decades,” and now the problem must be “conclusively addressed for the sake of public trust and safety, deputy safety, and sheriff’s department morale,”  Solis wrote in a new motion that will be up for a vote at Tuesday’s board meeting.

With this goal in mind, her motion asks for the Office of the Inspector General to start showing some progress with a previously ordered “comprehensive study” of said deputy cliques.

The motion also instructs Sheriff Alex Villanueva to direct LASD personnel to cooperate in this comprehensive study of deputy secret subgroups, “in accordance with his duty to the public and the deputies sworn to protect County residents.”

Furthermore, to make sure that all of the above is actually getting accomplished, the motion directs the OIG, County Counsel, and the Civilian Oversight Commission to report back to the Board within 90 days on the status of the study, “including the cooperation of the Sheriff.”

LASD, Banditos, courtesy of Greg Smith

Solis’ motion was triggered by a new set of claims for damages that were filed against the county last Thursday, March 7.

The claims have been filed on behalf of seven department members, several of whom were reportedly beaten—two of them severely—on September 28, 2018, by members of the “Banditos,” the increasingly notorious deputy clique that appears to operate with impunity out of the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station.

As WitnessLA reported when we first broke the story of the Banditos brawl last year, the alleged assaults and beatings took place at an after-hours party that was held at Kennedy Hall, a rentable performance and event venue on South Atlantic Blvd in East LA. The party was organized by the station’s newest deputies to celebrate the end of their training period.

Even Alex Villanueva, who was at the time running for sheriff, reportedly attended the end-of-training party, which is a time-honored sheriff’s department tradition.

Witnesses say Villanueva left before the series of assaults occurred.

LASD Banditos, courtesy of Greg Smith

According to the new claims, just as the offsite party was beginning to wind down, the so-called Banditos members began verbally attacking a young deputy they’d previously been harassing at the station for months. When other deputies attempted to come to the young deputy’s rescue by calming the situation, they too were reportedly attacked, and things went downhill from there.

Before the melee had ended, among those injured, was one young deputy who was reportedly choked to the point of unconsciousness then “punched in the face.” Another young deputy was “sucker punched” then “jumped on while he was unconscious on the ground.” Some of the other claimants were also injured, but these two seemed to get the worst of it.

In the days afterward, one of the injured deputies reportedly said that, he’d wanted to be a cop all his life, and the hardest part of the painful beating was trying to explain to his family “that he was attacked by people he worked with,” armed cops trained to kill, “who are supposed to be upholding the law.”

The new claims are the first step toward eventually filing a federal civil lawsuit against LA County, in which the seven claimants will ask for tens of millions of dollars in damages, according to attorney Vince Miller, who is representing the seven.


Pressure and retaliation

As Miller explains it, last September’s brawl was a culmination of what he described as a long period of harassment of a group of young deputies, particularly Latino deputies, who didn’t go along with the Banditos way of doing things, which allegedly included enforcing “arrest quotas,” which are illegal in California, pushing deputies to stay on duty until they got the requisite number of arrests, righteous or not.

Finally in April and May of  2018, a training officer named Benjamin Zaredini, and a veteran deputy named Louis Granados, took their concerns about the pressure and intimidation the young deputies were enduring at the hands of the clique, to a lieutenant.

But, reportedly, the whistleblowing did no good.

According to Miller  (plus additional sources familiar with the situation at the East LA station), part of the problem was that one of the Banditos shot callers was a female sergeant at the station named Patty Estrada,  who goes by the nickname “Pink Hand,” a play on the infamous Black Hand that is a symbol adopted by La Eme, the Mexican Mafia prison gang.

Estrada is reportedly skilled at wielding influence, and went over the lieutenant’s head to the station’s captain persuading him to ignore the complaints.

As the same time, Estrada allegedly told her fellow Banditos about how Granados and Zaredini had gone to the lieutenant.

As a consequence,  the harassment allegedly escalated and now the targets also included the two whistleblowers.

Now the coercion and intimidations consisted of the Banditos failing to provide back up “on dangerous calls in the field when back up is required,” according to the complaints.

The clique members also reportedly went so far as to empty the bullets out of the gun of one of their targets.

“There were two witnesses who saw that the bullets were there during the day,” but then “gone at the end of the day,” when the gun’s owner was going on patrol, Miller said.

The deputy with the magically disappearing bullets was one of the whistleblowers.

“At first, they’d key his car, erase his name from the board, and other petty stuff,” said Miller.

“But then they began endangering him—and by extension the community.”

The result, according to Miller is “a hostile environment at the station that has led to the deputies fearing their fellow officers more than the criminals in the street.”


Not a new problem

The Banditos problem is not a new one.

At least as far back as 1971, a secret subgroup called the “Little Devils” existed at the East Los Angeles station, according to Solis’ motion.

“In 1992, a watchdog panel pressed the Sheriff’s Department to root out these secret subgroups,” Solis wrote.

(This was after the Thomas class action lawsuit laid out the brutal and unconstitutional actions of the Lynwood Vikings in 52 harrowing pages.)

Twenty years later, in September 2012, the Citizen’s Commission for Jail violence wrote in their lengthy and scathing report that “for years management has known about and condoned deputy cliques and their destructive subcultures that have undermined the Core Values articulate by the Sheriff. These factors have contributed to force problems in the jails as well as numerous off-duty force incidents involving deputies.”

The CCJV’s point was further demonstrated in 2014, when Guadalupe Lopez, then a ten year veteran of the department, described in a civil lawsuit filed by attorney Greg Smith, how members of the Banditos, “sexually harassed, threatened and demanded sex from her” as part of “training” when she was transferred to the department’s East LA station in 2011. According to the lawsuit, when Lopez declined the personal advances, harassment, hazing and other forms of retaliation resulted. This allegedly included being run off the road by another deputy, being slammed hard into a wall while she held a loaded shotgun, and having dead rat placed under her car after she reported objectionable behavior by the group.

Lopez’ lawsuit was ultimately settled with LA County for $1,500,000.

But despite the high ticket settlement, with its alarming allegations, “nothing changed,” said Miller.

According to the seven claimants, since the time Sheriff Villanueva has taken office, nothing has improved either—even though Villanueva moved the previous captain out of the station, and installed a new captain in his place.  A few other transfers have also taken place, but the Banditos, reportedly, remain untouched and intact.

Everybody relies on law enforcement, said Miller. “So if your law enforcement officers are getting attacked by other law enforcement, what does that say to the community?”

Now, Miller says he is hoping the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will investigate the Banditos matter.

In the meantime, there’s Tuesday’s motion.


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77 Comments

  • I keep hoping AV will come around, but I’ve come to the conclusion after so many unforced errors that he’ll handle this poorly. Like the scorpion who asked a favor of the frog…it’s just his nature.

    The way he SHOULD handle it (but won’t) is to fully cooperate with the Inspector General’s investigation. He should also personally meet with the entire staff of each station (starting with his beloved ELA) and tell the troops that, while they can ink their bodies any way they want and hold membership in any club/group they want, he will NOT tolerate any violations of Department policy or the law.

    Everyone (including the station captains) knows who the shot callers are. The head Chingons should be transferred to other stations which will send the message to everyone that NO ONE is untouchable and that stupid (or illegal) behavior won’t be tolerated.

    Part of reason the “3000 Boys” became such a mess at CJ was because the problem deputies weren’t transferred.

    The past and future multi-million dollar payouts to deputies who’ve worked ELA and been victimized by these idiots are a direct result of a failure of past leadership (Baca, Tanaka, McDonnell, Scott). Let’s see if AV steps up.

  • The situation at ELA Station should have had the Sheriff, Executive & Command staff on near war footing. The issue of deputy cliques is long standing & isn’t an all or nothing issue but more a continuum with ELA being on the extreme end. The mere change in the station Captain in this matter is laughable but not funny. It displays lack of commitment to the new day Sheriff Villanueva campaigned on. At the very least it confirms the “amateur hour” nature of Sheriff Villanueva & his “carefully vetted” Executive staff. At worst it’s Sheriff Villanueva being Paul Tanaka like, taking care of his Boyz. As with past full unit level problems, which, once they came to light, poor leadership/supervision & lack command courage was always found. In my private sector experience, we would have concluded that Alex Villanueva was an error in hiring, made a settlement agreement & moved on. In this case, the elected status prevents such action but doesn’t prevent turning the heat up to full blast. The Sherff’s competence is at this point questionable. Also a bet, he’ll put more effort is assigning blame than taking decisive corrective action.

  • I stand corrected…. evidently there are two stories connected with the scorpion. One involved a frog and the other a turtle. Who would have guessed…….

  • Past:. Historically ELA was a great place to work. I waited two years in custody to get there and enjoyed every minute of it. The station always had strong personalities where this type of behavior would have been handled internally and not allowed to flourish. I have no idea what has changed to allow this type of culture. Sad state of affairs….

  • As of my reading of the comments, well said by Apostle, Past and Bandwagon. But this is a chance for Alex to come out of his nose dive. Perhaps his last chance.

  • The leadership in the Sheriff’s Department, if you can call it that, does not want to alienate tradition that’s gone rogue. I applaud the actions of the deputies to come forward. Can anyone blame them?

    Waiting to see if someone in his command staff has the balls to tell Villanueva that “enough is enough” with the bullshit, do something!

    Alex better take a stand on this one because if not, it’s definitely “curtains” with no chance of a second term.

    LASD is giving SB1421 a helluva debut, recruitment be damned.

  • Sheriff Villanueva brought back cronyism, tarted up. He made a Lennox Reaper his Chief of Staff. The ELA Cliques are Villanueva’s base. They have his back, for now, but most of them will scatter like insects when the ship sinks.

  • Good for these Deputies for speaking up; a nightmare for the ethical personnel at ELA. If someone has reached the point that they are battering people, failing to respond to back, acting like they run the station, sexually intimidating and threatening other personnel, etc, a lot of warning signs were ignored (or condoned) by those around them.

    The job and what it represents means nothing to these types. If the information reported is true, they don’t need to be transferred – they needed to be terminated. You can train a lot of things but basic decency isn’t one of them. If the allegations about the Sergeant are true, she should also join her boys on the unemployment line. The brass that ignored this also need to be held accountable.

    I realize that the likelihood of much justice in this situation is right up there with finding Big Foot but one can dream. Hoping that the new Sheriff sends a very strong message…

  • This is going to be rather interesting since Alex and his command staff have been members of, supported and encouraged the cliques throughout their careers. Alex can’t outwardly decline to work with the Supervisors request, but he can and I expect will purposely do a very shoddy job of reporting back to the board. I expect this motion will backfire when all of the cliques are put on notice that they have nothing to worry about, Alex fully supports them, keep up the good work! The ends justify the means. Let’s be real, the Sheriff doesn’t care about lawsuits. Payouts don’t come out of his pockets. He only wants to be loved by the deputies.

  • “Banditos” ….”Regulators”…..”Vikings”….”3000 boys”…..all followers. At the point in their careers when they were accepted into these “social groups” they weren’t strong or tough enough to be a true leader. Some (not all) matured into excellent leaders and supervisors. Some (not all) of the best leaders I worked alongside were trainees or newer deputies. Some (not all) of the weaker law enforcement officers were “o g’s”. Strength of character and courage make for a true cop. LASD needs true leaders to lead them out of this quagmire. Are there any still going 10-8? Are there enough of them to swim against the tide?

  • Who was the sheriff in 1971? It wasn’t Sheriff AV. Who was the sheriff in 1992? It wasn’t Sheriff AV. Who was the sheriff who said that the A-Hole Vikings were a “baseball Team?” It wasn’t Sheriff AV. Who was the last sheriff (name sounded like McDonnell)who absolutely refused to admit there was even a problem? NOTE: [Celeste, didn’t you question McDonnell on this issue and where did that go?] Um, let me guess it wasn’t Sheriff AV. And where was the BOS all these years when their friends and relatives were getting hired by LASD? Come on Solis where was your outrage then? Why didn’t you get your marinette (McDonnell) to handle the problem? Political Hypocrisy once again. LAPD also has tats at every station but we don’t hear about them, unless they beat a man by the name of Rodney King; remember? Foothill Division still has the tats.

    I hate tats, always have and I have been vocal for many years. But, lets get to the issue and the legalities; PLEASE PAY ATTENTION HILDA! Issues and/or Questions: Why aren’t supervisors not doing their jobs? Why have these groups been allowed to continue for so many years? If we remove the tats but the behavior continues then once again isn’t a huge part of there problem supervisory cowardice and personal responsibility? Wasn’t there misconduct before the tats came along? How can any department head force any county employee participate in this so-called study? If an employee makes an incriminating statement (it will happen) during this study doesn’t OIG instigate a complaint? During Baca’s tenure of terror didn’t two of his Major Executives also have Tats?

    Legality: If you are under investigation (IA) then you must participate in the investigation or you become subject to termination. This is not an IA and the BOS cannot order an IA. That falls on the department head, Sheriff AV. If Sheriff AV totally cooperates and the employee refuses then what? So, where’s the force to compel employees to cooperate? Having a tat is not against policy (POST) or State of California law. It’s the behavior that just sucks! Now misconduct and criminal behavior is where we need to go. If the employe refuses, is the OIG going demand a strip search? Of course not! Doesn’t this study sound like the Mueller investigation?

    This is not and never has been a freedom of speech issue. It’s a work issue. LASD has the legal authority to make you wear a uniform, pay your bills, cut your hair, drive only a particular black and white car with specific markings. You don’t get to chose. I.E. Kapernick (NFL) wasn’t forced to stand not due to speech issues but the NFL didn’t have a work rule forbidding the behavior. Regardless of your opinion on race in America, Kapernick’s behavior came down to a work issue. BTW: Kapernick had two issues of inequality; one was police abuse and the other was Hillary Clinton getting off from prosecution!! The NBA has a work rule that all players will stand to the anthem. See the difference? I hope so HILDA!

    So, the state legislature, POST, BOS and the department heads need to enact work rule policies and procedures on conduct and tats. Once that is done, the agencies can act with the force of law. Then it comes full circle and once if an employee refuses then an IA can begin with the threat of termination. PLEASE TELL ME YOU GET THIS HILDA? AND WHY WAS IT YOUR MOTION? WAS BARGER AFRAID OF BEING CALLED A RACIST? MAYBE WE SHOULD ALL TAKE A KNEE?

    Last, we all chose to be deputy sheriffs and police officers. No one forced us. True there is a huge double standard in the application of policy and law. Regardless wether you have a tat or not criminal behavior and misconduct must be addressed. I do agree that IA investigations are far too political and corrupt. Only by the luck of the draw you can get a seasoned investigator or a fool. I’m positive that the BOS would give their blessings if Sheriff AV opened questionable investigations to ensure propriety? Or is it giving justice just to criminals who got off because the punishment was too harsh? Um, that theme of harshness comes up again!!

    • Um, You mentioned some valid points as we all can point to and review history lane at LASO, but the question remains, what will Alex do?

      I personally want Alex to succeed but he has to stand alone in some of the wiser decisions he makes which may not appease everyone.

      When in the company of his qualified elders comprised of Bob, Ray and Tim, it would be advisable for Alex to be “slow to speak and quick to listen”.

      • Old School: I agree. What should be done re tats? What came first the tat or the behavior? Of course it’s the behavior then the tat. Can’t get a tat without the behavior.
        If these knuckleheads behaved we would not need to address these issues. Where is your loyalty as a deputy sheriff or police officer? To your oath or the symbol (tat?) But, sadly this is a political hatchet job for the BOS to bring the LASD under their control. I’m so disappointed that Solis allowed herself to be used as a women and Hispanic.

        Again, what should be done?

    • It would be interesting to know why Zaredini lost his card with the bandidos.

      The complaint filed by Guadalupe Lopez stated his allegedly coward actions towards her.
      It seems to me that Zaredini had a fallout with the bandidos but now wants payback.

    • Thanks for this link. Everyone should read the contents. WTF is wrong with these people? Did they take an oath different from everyone else? AV needs to cut the cancer out – all those weak followers that want to band together and harass other people and that includes the managers named. Would also like to one day learn more re the claims made re ALADS representation; understandably they likely can’t comment now. Good for Lopez for fighting back; a shame she had to do so.

  • Wait until Celeste writes about today’s Board of Supervisors public meeting. The Sheriff made a complete fool of himself and the Board slapped him right across the face. Does anyone know who is guiding the Sheriff?

  • I know of no deputies that are gang members who are employed by LA County Sheriffs Dept. The reason deputies have tattoos of their stations because they are proud of their station as the LA Sheriffs is the best law enforcement agency in the world. Sgt. Steve Owens had a station tattoo because he loved the AV Station and his fellow deputies does not make him a gang member. He died for you too Supervisor Solis and the rest of the LA County residents. For the supervisor Solis to compare LA Sheriffs with the EME Mexican Mafia is a disgrace to ever person employed by the Sheriffs dept. and being a member of the LASD, I want a apology for the sheriff and every member of the dept. civilian and sworn. I worked the Mexican Mafia Cases where they killed each other and citizens in California and its a disgrace to be referred to as Mexican Mafia.

    • Good on you! I don’t see the la times give real criminal gangs one tenth of the attention that they give these idiots. I also don’t see any attorney going after the mob. I think they the la times writers are scared.

  • @Wizeup that is the million dollar question. Who is guiding the sheriff. None of the top executives need to be there, they are there voluntary. I contend that they are the true criminals. Alex is not a bright guy by any standards. His degrees are all from third rate schools that accepted the “C-” student that he is and his work performance has always revealed some with an IQ around the same number as his age and the mentality of a two year old. Never heard him speak where he wasn’t either complaining or blaming someone else for his own failures.

    His executive staff on the other hand are all, for the most part, very bright people. They are egging him on at mentally challenged Alex’s expense. One of them are vying for his job mark my words. As many have pointed out, the emperor has no clothes. Why else would they stay on a department sinking faster than the Titanic.

    • Wow, I missed this one, my apologies. I can only deduct from your rant that you should seek counseling. You’re beyond ESS.

  • I love reading these stories and comments. With all that is going on in today’s world and specifically Southern California you’d think witnessLA would have more to write about. Board of Supervisors and specifically Solis have no room to point Fingers. Have they not heard of POBR ( peace officer bill of rights) that’s LAW! Story over

  • I caught a small part of the Board meeting re the motion by Supervisor Solis over “cliques.”
    The Sheriff noted that tattoos are not the issue, that behaviors are the problem (seemed to fly over Solis). He explained that when he was at ELA, it was during the “Cavemen” era, that he did not get a tattoo, that he was not treated differently as a result and that people treated each other respectfully.
    On his first day in office, he changed the command staff at ELA because he did not have faith in those assigned there. Some of the people connected to the September ELA incident have been ROD, the investigation ought to be completed this month and then it will be up to the DA. He also said that there was a prior similar issue at ELA last June that was not dealt with by management.
    He also indicated that all stations have logos and told Solis that contrary to what she has been told, that the Bandidos emblem is not on display at the ELA station. Barger commented that she didn’t have a concern re logos that have to do with positive morale raising events like Baker to Vegas. Hahn wants them all gone…
    Didn’t see much more but my sense is that AV is either not comfortable with public speaking or at least, not with the Board. He seemed tense and very guarded. I’m not being critical of him in that regard. He’s new, it’s not easy around those people and I don’t know what happened earlier in the meeting. Just tossing out the small part I did see. Mr. Castro-Silva from the OIG that noted to the Board that it was important to stop and gather facts as opposed to making decisions based on rumor. Wouldn’t that be nice…

  • Why is LA times, Hilda Solis and the board of supervisors blaming Lex Villanueva for that nonsense? He just got hired.

  • Wize Up, I saw the feed. I saw one leader holding five political hacks at bay and not yielding. He was polite, respectful, and forceful when he needed to be. He stood tall like a real sheriff, something the board is violently opposed to. The LASD is in good hands.

  • maybe I’m ignorant. I’m just noe buddy and all i know is what i read here, but i’m finding it difficult to understand how this would happen:

    “The clique members also reportedly went so far as to empty the bullets out of the gun of one of their targets……There were two witness who saw that the bullets were there during the day,” but then “gone at the end of the day,” when the gun’s owner was going on patrol, Miller said.”

    I’m going to assume there are specific and strict policies in effect which govern the handling of the service revolver and ammunition.
    I going to assume that a deputy must retain possession and control of his firearm at all times when he is armed and that the weapon is otherwise checked out from and checked back in to a secured, safekeeping with very limited and controlled access.
    I’m going to assume that each time the weapon is obtained from the safekeeping, the deputy must go through a procedure of inspecting its basic condition and operability.
    I’m going to assume that if there is any variance observed at that time, the deputy must make a report.
    If that report indicates there was unauthorized tampering, that would trigger further reporting and serious investigation.
    I’m going to assume that you do not touch a firearm assigned to someone else and not assigned to you – unless your assigned task specifically requires handling a firearm assigned to others OR you have observed a firearm which is not in secured safekeeping and not in direct possession and control of who it is assigned to, then you would handle that firearm only for the purpose of delivering it to secure safekeeping and making a report of it.
    Any other instance of handling a firearm not assigned to you would constitute a serious violation that requires a report and discipline.
    I’m going to assume that if a firearm is found not in secure safekeeping and also not in direct possession and control of the deputy to whom it is assigned, then a violation is reported along with some reprimand/discipline.

    So, I can’t picture how a deputy ends up with an empty firearm which was expected to be loaded with ammunition and that doesn’t quickly result in reports, investigations and discipline of the deputy who the firearm is assigned to and/or someone who is responsible for tampering or for allowing the tampering.

  • Funny how many here reminisce nostalgically about the past. Yet, the problem has been around for at least 40 years. Same hell, different devils. I suspect the only difference in the past was that they were all white. And, funny how the solution is to transfer the problem deputies, not fire them, not charge them with assault or whatever other crime they committed, but to transfer them. I suspect many of you see these play out and say, there but for the grace of god go I.

    Mr. Apsotle, who only a few days ago was complaining about how deputies are treated worse than criminals offers the following wise solution:

    “Everyone (including the station captains) knows who the shot callers are. The head Chingons should be transferred to other stations which will send the message to everyone that NO ONE is untouchable and that stupid (or illegal) behavior won’t be tolerated.

    Part of reason the “3000 Boys” became such a mess at CJ was because the problem deputies weren’t transferred.”

    Really?! Not fire them for, as you say, “stupid behavior?” Not arrest them for, as you say, “illegal behavior,” but transfer them. And, you complain that you are not treated fairly? pleeeeease! Anyone without a badge engaging in that behavior would have been fired anywhere else and arrested. What criminal wouldn’t want deputy treatment – transferred, given the benefit of the doubt, keep your pay while you go on leave, and keep the pension. And, they still suck the government teat. Thank god for government welfare.

    I suspect that many of these deputies were picked on when in high school, maybe never made the jock group, and the Latino deputies, or Latinx as Bandwagon calls them, probably had their lunch money taken by cholos. Now, these cowards think they are gangsters because they have a gun and a badge. Embarrassing.

  • @cf, nice to hear from you again. Of course you’d drag race in to this, but for your information all the groups mentioned had people of color in them – but that’s not why I am responding. Once again you’ve missed the point of this whole discussion. But I did want to point out that in order to fire someone, that person has to have committed an offense for which you can dismiss them. You also have to have the goods on them – not a “suspicion” that they have done something dastardly. Being a member of one of these groups – BTW they don’t actually have membership lists – is not, in itself, an offense for which you can dismiss someone. You might like it to be otherwise, but it just ain’t so. BUT breaking up the group is one way to deal with it, although it is not as draconian as you, or I, might like. However, even moving people around has it’s downside because it brings the union in to play and they would throw a fit thus causing this to become a huge employee relations issue – perhaps ending in a big court battle.

    Moving the Captain, as Sheriff Villanueva has already done, does not involve any employee issues. The lieutenants and sergeants are less of a ER issue than the deputies but also pose a problem,

    IMHO, the Sheriff should bite the bullet,take on the union(s) and show that there is a new Sheriff in town who will not tolerate this kind of behavior. If he eventually loses a ER battle so be it. He will have shaken the place up and demonstrated this kind of boorish, thug-like behavior will not be tolerated PERIOD. But based on what I’ve seen thus far I don’t think he will because he wants to “show the troops” that he’s macho and has their back. Unfortunately, Sheriff Villanueva seems to be listening to people who would think that is the proper mind-set in this particular situation when he should be listening to more mature advisors who are, no doubt, advising him that the vast majority of his “troops” think these guys and gal(s) are a disgrace to the Department and should be dealt with as severely as possible.

    • Are you serious about
      “the Sheriff should bite the bullet and take on the union(s) and show them that a new Sheriff in town “……….. Really?

      The union (ALADS) gave the Sheriff 1.3 million, so what does that tell you?

      • @Non Believer, did I say he would? I said he should. Actually, the union would have to defend these people on principle and would be obligated to if there was a breach of contract.

        IMO their membership would be in agreement with such a move by the Sheriff. No different than them having to defend a Deputy who obviously needs to be fired, but their obligation is to defend him/her.

  • I left East LA 20 years ago. It was a great place to work. So are these bandido guys supposed to be the big time felony cops? The guys making lots of big time arrests?

  • cf – Your comment suggests that you believe that most sworn personnel would prefer to transfer versus terminate someone that has engaged in gross misconduct. To the contrary, the vast majority of the people on LASD are good and decent people that did not go through an extensive background and rigorous training process to work with a bully, a criminal or any combination of the two.

    In those cases where there is not enough to terminate (or the conduct doesn’t rise to termination) an employee but allowing them to remain at their work location could prove damaging in some fashion, a transfer can be made as part of a case settlement agreement. This isn’t a new tool and has nothing to do with defending people that should logically find another career.

  • 25 Cents, likewise. Its a pleasure to cross paths once again. Perhaps I was not clear, or on point. I understand what you say, and understand it is not easy. However, this type of behavior would not be tolerated in any private sector job. In California, as you know, we have at-will employment. No one in the private sector, practically no one, has the protections you and your fellow officers do. And, I am aware, there is no list, but there is also no list for street gangs, and that does not stop folks for getting, for example, a gang enhancement at sentencing, or, more likely, taking in that fact implicitly, or you or other officers from rolling up on the “gang” and have them spread eagle and then send them on their way.

    To that end, I wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph. Your comment that “the Sheriff should bite the bullet,take on the union(s) and show that there is a new Sheriff in town who will not tolerate this kind of behavior” is on point. And, if he loses, so be it, that is part of the job. Its a tough job and that he volunteered. That would differentiate a leader from an administrator or bureaucrat. If I were a betting man, however, my wager would be on the same number as Nonbeliever – it takes balls to stand up to the union and I’m not sure how big Mr. Villanueva has them

    Take a breath, I actually think that most people going into law enforcement do so with good intentions and the desire to make a difference. There are, however, occupational hazards with the profession. The nature of the job is such that its easy to let the power go to your head after a few years and cross the line – maybe fudge the report, maybe smack someone, etc. And, worse, its easier for an officer that sees this to go along to get along, than to speak up.

    • Nice try, but not I’m not buying it. To know try and distance yourself from all the hate, condescension and disdain you have clearly have for law enforcement and try to “appear to actually care” and “appear sympathetic” toward them is laughable and actually pathetic. You have taken a stance of one who has no respect for law enforcement……so continue to own it.

      Never let your guard down, and always beware of strangers bearing gifts.

      Pathetic.

    • cf, BTW I would lay my name (25 cents) on the line that Sheriff Villanueva will not bite the bullet and take on the bullies. He will listen to the two people he has listened to who have sent his administration toward the rocks, wet-behind-the-ears-Chiefs Larry Del Mese and Ely Vera. Those two have constantly given him advise contrary to that given by more mature and knowledgeable members of his staff. Invariably, Sheriff Villanueva has followed their advice with disastrous results. I predict a replay of that scenario.

      You are 100% correct is he a leader or not. I will not even give him credit for being a bureaucrat – he doesn’t have the experience to even be one of those. BUT he can emerge as a leader if he DOES THE RIGHT THING.

  • Two Bits, I’ve been retired three years and live far away from California. But if Vera and Del Mese are giving the Sheriff advice, that explains partly why things are a mess, I know both of them. Do the right thing? How about Hit the Ejector button.

  • This entire dog & pony show stems from the initial hearing that the Sheriff had with Kuehl, re: Mandoyan. Kuehl did not take to kindly to the Sheriff’s response and she is trying to make a point. Further, she is getting her female cohorts on board, in an attempt to make the Sheriff look bad. Since “Big Mac” lost the election and he was their “water boy,” the BOS are obviously not happy and do not care for an assertive, free thinking Sheriff. Nonetheless, this issue with ELA and the “Banditos,” is not good optics for the department as a whole. Aside from these rogue deputies running amok, supervision (Sgt,. Lt. Capt.), should be doing their respective jobs and held accountable as well. The days at East Los are not what they used to be. Sad.

    • Pat: You are correct. The BOS lost their puppet McDonnell and the voters wanted someone else. How strange when former President Obama made campaign promises about his socialistic ideas and how he would “transform” America why did everyone get so upset when he did what he set out to do and fulfill campaign promises? And the same for President Trump who said he would protect America, build a wall and again everyone got upset that he’s keeping his campaign promises? Isn’t that a huge complaint that a politician makes promises and then breaks them? Ok, Sheriff AV is keeping his promise.

      Sheriff AV said over and over what he was going to do as sheriff. Sheriff AV didn’t hide anything. He is keeping his campaign promise. Who did we think he was talking about when he talked about reinstating deputies? The man in question was standing in PLAIN VIEW! Just a little culture humor with the term PLAIN VIEW LOL.

      Not one of the BOS supported Sheriff AV and since day one have been hostile to LASD and the voters of LA County.

      WE SHOULD ASK OURSELVES IF WE KNEW THAT AN INJUSTICE WAS DONE WOULD WE WAIT UNTIL THE “OPTICS” WERE RIGHT BEFORE WE ACT? IN THIS CASE WHEN WOULD THE “OPTICS” EVER BE RIGHT?

      Ok, so Sheriff AV should violate his beliefs, promises and acquiesce to career politicians i.e. the BOS? If Sheriff AV did that then wouldn’t he be just like McDonnell? BTW: Has Hahn ever had a real job?

      Last, to illustrate behavior v. tats. Baca does not have a tat and was as corrupt at any crook. I predict that he’s going to prison and for a longer time than PT. PT has a tat and just as corrupt and is currently in Federal prison. A little historical ironic humor about Vikings. Vikings NEVER had horns on their helmets! How dumb are there fools?

    • I’m noe buddy and all i know is what i’ve read here.
      And i read that the Sheriff submitted Mandoyan’s case on Dec. 21 to a 3 person dept. committee for evaluation. The committee completed their review and Deputy Mandoyan was reinstated Dec. 28(approx. dates).
      When trying to evade expected opposition to implementing a particular administrative action, the best chance each year for successfully flying under the radar comes during the week which has Christmas in the middle of it.
      It may be pure coincidence that Sheriff Villanueva’s actions to reinstate Deputy Mandoyan transpired over the 7-8 days surrounding the Christmas holiday. However, the timing on this action certainly adds to the doubt over its intrinsic merit.
      It should come as no surprise that reinstating Mandoyan would trigger the hankles of Supervisor Kuehl, in particular.
      She doesn’t tolerate a mindset of minimizing the violations and inequalities which women suffer from the actions of men attempting to advance on them in the workplace, and other places.
      The fact that Sheriff McDonnell lost his bid for reelection, or any other political development regarding the Sheriff Dept are probably irrelevant to what Supervisor Kuehl is seeing here – the new Sheriff has reinstated a Deputy who has serious issues with dating women; especially in the areas of requiring control and handling rejection. He is unable to contain his impulse to act out, which then corrupts his behavior in the workplace.
      If a girl has put the boyfriend out of her home, and clearly communicated that she is now off limits to him, then any attempt at unauthorized reentry is a violation of her basic rights and of our social standards.
      A Deputy Sheriff knows this better than anyone. If there are personal items remaining to retrieve in the now off-limits premises, including but not limited to a firearm for which he is responsible – the proper course of action is to request the assistance of local law enforcement or other neutral authorities. They will advise and assist in transferring the items of personal property.
      Which prompts another critical question – why did Deputy Mandoyan store a gun or leave a gun inside his girlfriend’s apt. or anyone’s apt, not his own?
      It’s a tactic which serves a need for controlling the relationship.

      • @ noe buddy; Your assessment based upon accuracy of information surpasses the hype by the defenders who feel that the Sheriff did nothing wrong.
        The truth is light, valuable to some and dangerous to others.

  • PART 2 of 2 – “The Ugly Specter of P.T.”

    NOTE: For first time readers, or those who missed PART l, “Pocahontas To The Rescue” , see https://witnessla.com/la-board-supervisors-to-vote-on-motion-questioning-the-legality-of-sheriffs-controversial-practice-of-reinstating-fired-deputies-like-carl-mandoyan/ Comments section: Posted March 7th, about 1/2 way down.

    Unknown Female Voice: If you boys are done! (period of silence) Chief Murakami, the Sheriff will see you now

    Murakami: Thank you.

    (long pause)

    Del Mese: I don’t trust that guy.

    Mandoyan: Who?

    Del Mese: Murakami

    Mandoyan: Alex does, he put he put him on the “Truth and Conciliation Commission.”

    Vera: I’ll bet Tim’s was real happy about THAT!

    Mandoyan: Why?

    Del Mese: Oh nothing, he’s just kidding around.

    Mandoyan: Well, they gave me a clean bill of health and you signed the letter clearing me.

    Vera: How well I know………..

    Del Mese: Uh…..well, anyway. I still don’t trust the guy.

    Mandoyan: Why?

    Del Mese: Paul doesn’t like him.

    Mandoyan: Paul? Paul Tanaka??? How do you know?

    Vera: He writes to us from Colorado.

    Mandoyan: He knows what’s going on HERE?

    Vera: Sure: We write to him and let him know what’s up.

    Del Mese: And he follows everything on the internet.

    Mandoyan: He has access to the internet?

    Vera: Hell yes! Shit, he’s wired in. RUNNING that fucking place. Could you expect less of THE MAN?

    Del Mese: He’s the “Librarian” and has access to EVERYTHING. He just can’t communicate with us directly via e-mail.

    Vera: Yet! He’s close to pulling that off too.

    Del Mese: Shut the fuck up!

    Vera: Sorry. Keep that one under your hat, Carl.

    Del Mese: But he’s keeping close tabs on “things.”

    Vera: Yeah, he’s even enjoying Witness LA…….for once!

    (laughter)

    Del Mese: But don’t tell Alex that we’re talking to Paul – he’s kind’a touchy about Paul’s influence on what’s going on around here.

    Vera: Yeah, “officially” Paul is in the past and not a factor.

    Mandoyan: Well isn’t he?

    Del Mese: Let’s just say he’s an “interested observer” and leave it at that.

    Mandoyan: What’s he going to do when he gets out?

    Vera: Well, don’t mention THIS to Alex either.

    Del Mese: Eeeeassssyyyyy!

    Vera: Larry, Carl’s contacts will come in handy.

    Del Mese: You’ve got a point. But you’ve got to keep this shit QUIET!

    Mandoyan: WHAT?

    Vera: With no conviction on his record, Paul’s going to run for Mayor of Gardena……once he gets his feet on the ground.

    Mandoyan: No shit!

    Del Mese: Since Alex won, he’s really gotten itchy to get back in “The Game”.

    Vera: And dude, he’s LOVED in his old hometown. Shit, he grew up there, went to school there, became a big wig in LA, became Mayor! Remember? They even wanted him to stay on as Mayor after he was convicted – saying it was all the result of the feds and their political bullshit. Besides, “he was only following orders.”

    (laughter)

    Del Mese: It’s not going to be easy, but once we remind folks how he led the city from near bankruptcy to being on financial solid ground they’ll forget all that crap. Besides who doesn’t love a “local boy makes good” story? But this one is “from rags, to riches, got screwed by “the system,” so back to rags, and then back to riches again”. Fuck! Couldn’t get better than that!

    Vera: And now that Baca has lost his appeal, Paul’s attorneys are going to launch his appeal and have his conviction overturned.

    Del Mese: With Baca behind bars the attorneys say it will be a slam dunk to make the case that Baca was calling the shots and Paul was an outsider in the whole thing.

    Vera: Baca’s going to the slammer would be the final piece of the puzzle!

    Mendoyan: Shit, I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    Vera: BUT, we’ll still need to organize the ooooollllllldddddd machine.

    Del Mese: And you, my man, Paul would like YOU to be at ground center at getting Paul’s career kick-started, or maybe we should say kick-restarted.

    Vera: There’s no fucking way Cecil, Jim. Larry or I can be seen hustling money from wanna-bees – you saw how that came back to haunt Paul last time.

    Del Mese: You on the other hand have no “real power” in the Department and you have shown yourself to be very effective at what they call a “political operative.” No one’ll think twice about your involvement – you’ll just be helping out someone, like yourself, who needs a second chance in life. Dude you’re perfect!

    Vera: And let me tell you, once Paul is running the show in Gardena again, the casino money will follow and he’ll be on a roll!

    Mandoyan: I sure wasn’t “in the car” last time but……

    Del Mese: Hell, you’re DRIVING the car this time!

    (laughter)

    Mandoyan: True. It turns out, I like this political stuff ……………..as long as I don’t get stuck not in the middle of the shit.

    (laughter)

    Unknown Female Voice: Carl! The Sheriff will be ready in a few.

    Mandoyan: Okay. Got’a go – heading out.

    Vera: Where are you headed to this time?

    Mandoyan: Alex is on the Board of “Hábitat Para Los Immigrantes.” It’s like “Habitat for Humanity”, only this is for illegals. They build houses with
    stuff donated by the Mexican Government.

    Vera: Really?

    Mandoyan: Yeah, they can’t wait for those people to get the hell out of THEIR country.

    (laughter)

    Mandoyan: They aren’t real size houses though, they’re building “mini-houses” – like you see on tv.

    Del Mese: Only hold about 2-three dozen, eh?

    (laughter)

    Mandoyan: Actually they’re trailers – have wheels so they can be moved from place to place.

    Vera: Damn, so that they can keep ahead of ICE!

    Del Mese: Fuck me!

    (long period of silence)

    Mandoyan: Yeah and Gavin Newsom has promised them a sort’a amnesty on their trailers.

    Vera: Amnesty? On trailers? What the fuck is that all about?

    Mandoyan: They’ll call it the “Sanctuary Streets Act.” It’ll give illegals special license plates identifying them as “Illegal Immigrants” and then the new law will prohibit them from being stopped.

    Del Mese: Can’t be stopped? What if they commit a violation?

    Mandoyan: The law “indemnifies” illegals from all vehicle code violations. They said that’ll mean they’re not liable for their driving and therefore they can’t be stopped!

    Del Mese: JEEEESSSSSUUUUUSSSSS, now I’ve heard everything.

    (long pause)

    Vera: The locals will NEVER top one!

    • Paragraph #48:

      “Vera: And now that Baca has lost his appeal, Paul’s attorneys are going to launch his appeal and have his conviction overturned.”

      Paul is going to have to hurry.

      Lee Baca became afflicted with Alzheimer’s at around age 73, and Paul is now 60.

      Time is running out–the years fly by FAST!!!

        • If I remember correctly, the judge sentenced or stated he was going to sentence Baca to three years. Just waiting for him to impose, no idea why the delay.

          • Baca was allowed to remain out pending appeal. Last Monday, three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal found his trial and conviction lawful. I think he can request a hearing in front of all the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal judges or even the Supreme Court. I wonder if he opts to do all that if he’ll still be allowed to remain in the community. Anyone know?

  • @Santa, that’s real boring and stupid.

    You need to stop now. You know what they say about sequels, they all suck just like your last few posts. Stop while you’re ahead. Because none of this makes any sense and screams “Please give me attention!”

    Good God, that’s four minutes of my life I could never get back from reading this idiocracy.

    Finally, Trump is my president and Villanueva is my Sheriff! Never been happier to wear my uniform.

  • It is time to clearly start over.

    AV needs to lobby the State to put laws on the books prohibiting sworn and civilian personnel from having any tattoos that can be construed as related to any cliques, organizations or unit level, department groups.

    Removal of tattoos will be done on duty and free of charge.

    It’s time to end the entitlement attitude of members of law enforcement, especially LASD members who think they have the right to wear inappropriate ink. It used to be seen as a privelage to serve in law enforcement and standards were maintained and respected. This crap isn’t put up with in the military and it shouldn’t be tolerated in law enforcement either.

    It is eye opening once you leave law enforcement and re-enter the civilian world and live in reality. You realize how pampered and entitled sworn law enforcement members have become. In the real world, you are fired on the spot, don’t have retirement and benefits that no one else have in Corporate America.

    It is time to start over, enact some guidelines and re educate personnel that serving in law enforcement isn’t an entitlement, but a privelage. If you don’t like it, go work in Corporate America and see what reality really is. So many personnel have become spoiled whiney bitches…

    Time to start over. Serving is a privelage.. Not a right.

    Yes, this does include the Department protecting those that serve following the law, not tolerate false complaints but also have the ability to get rid off those that cross the line.

  • Hey Celeste. Question for you. Are the “52 pages of harrowing actions” you refer to the lawsuit by members of the Young Crowd gang against deputies at Lynwood station?

  • This just in….Ray Leyva is out and Murakami is IN as No. 2.

    I had heard that he and another top exec had grown tired of watching AV steer the ship into icebergs despite their best advice.

    • The koolaid should be replaced with a truth serum for all of those still in denial.
      The current fiasco has nothing to do with the last administration as that ship has sailed, so deal with ‘what is’ and not ‘what was’. Being a good guy with highly questionable moves does not help

  • There is way more going on than that, wait till you see the new promotions. So much for moving forward. This ship is sinking.

  • From a supposed Victim to a Suspect
    ………………..Guadalupe Lopez…………………

    Not sure if you all know … but she was FIRED for RACIST comments ….

    Girl alleges BS but is fired within 2yrs for her comments … but she’s a Victim right. Let’s Get Real

    FACTS!!

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