The watchdog group wants a review of the LA sheriff’s unit for possible crime and intimidation


A oversight body overseeing the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department on Thursday asked district attorneys to investigate whether a special investigative unit targeting critics of Sheriff Alex Villanueva has broken the law.

With the unanimous vote, the sheriff asked Civilian Oversight Commission for legal advice on crimes that Villanueva or the department as a whole may have committed, putting the Civil Rights and Public Integrity Detail, a team of nine investigators, under the authority of one of Villanuevas’ Reported to top aide.

The panel also tried to counter Villanueva’s refusal to answer questions about the unit. The commission had summoned Villanueva to appear before them Thursday, but the sheriff said he was too busy to attend.

The vote called on the county’s lawyers to “consider all legal remedies” to compel Villanueva to appear, including asking a judge for a court hearing on whether the sheriff should be convicted with contempt. The commission approved a new subpoena instructing Undersheriff Tim Murakami, who oversees the team, to testify.

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