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Los Angeles County Sheriff should resign over transparency issues, watchdog group says

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Homicide Bureau Captain Kent A. Wegener, right, announce an arrest of Deonte Lee Murray in the ambush shooting of two on-duty deputies who were sitting in their marked patrol car at the Metro Blue Line station in Compton September 12, 2020. Hall Of Justice on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

An oversight commission in California is calling for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to "immediately resign" from his role.

(CNN)An oversight commission in California is calling for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to "immediately resign" from his role.

Members of the Civilian Oversight Commission for the sheriff's department on Thursday unanimously approved an "expression no confidence" resolution in Villanueva's ability to lead the law enforcement agency.

"Despite this political theater, Sheriff Villanueva will continue being the most accessible and transparent sheriff in the history of Los Angeles County. "

The commission specifically criticized Villanueva for "lacking transparency" when eight LASD deputies were accused of leaking photos of the helicopter crash site that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant and others earlier this year.

"Although Sheriff Villanueva pledged to conduct a thorough, transparent and collaborative investigation into the publication of the photos, he instead bypassed the regular internal investigative process of the Sheriff's Department, ordered the destruction of the photos, and blocked the Office of Inspector General's efforts to examine his handling of the matter," the commission said.

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late NBA star, filed a civil lawsuit last month against Villanueva and the sheriff's department over the photo leak.

The commission also claims Villanueva has blocked efforts to ensure independent oversight of deputy-involved shooting investigations and has not adequately addressed violent deputy cliques or gangs that continue to operate within the department.

"The Commission finds that Sheriff Villanueva enables a culture within the Sheriff's Department of deputy impunity, disregards the constitutional rights of Los Angeles County residents, disdains other elected officials and disrespects the will of voters who support robust civilian oversight," the commission said.

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