A civil rights investigation has been opened by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to determine if the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has acted unconstitutionally in its policing.

A press release from the California Department of Justice, Friday, said the investigation was prompted by allegations that LASD have used “excessive force, retaliation, and other misconduct.”

“Those of us in positions of public trust know that the job comes with the solemn obligation to be accountable to the people we serve. Because of the nature of the work involved in law enforcement, that duty of care is heightened,” Attorney General Becerra said in a statement. “There are serious concerns and reports that accountability and adherence to legitimate policing practices have lapsed at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We are undertaking this investigation to determine if LASD has violated the law or the rights of the people of Los Angeles County.”

The press release also noted that it is not a criminal investigation and the attorney general had not made any determinations regarding allegations toward the LASD, but will “consider all relevant information.”

In response to the investigation, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement:

“As Sheriff, I look forward to this “non-criminal” pattern and practice investigation. Our Department may finally have an impartial, objective assessment of our operations, and recommendations on any areas we can improve our service to the community. During my administration, we have routinely requested the State Office of the Attorney General to monitor our investigations, and we will provide immediate access to all information in our possession. We are eager to get this process started, in the interest of transparency and accountability.”

In an interview with KABC-LA, Friday, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon responded to the investigation, saying, “There’s certainly a lot of people who have alleging complaints of irregularity at the Sheriff’s Department, including inspector general, so I’m pleased to see that the Attorney General is taking steps to look into this matter.”


Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.