Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement after the Board of Supervisors passed her motion requesting the Sheriff’s Department’s compliance with the timely release of evidence pertaining to deputy-involved shooting cases:
“LA County has been facing an epidemic for years: systemic violence, brutality, and racism at the hands of law enforcement agencies. We have seen too many loved ones from our communities of color killed by law enforcement and have witnessed these very same agencies subsequently conduct their own investigations into these matters. Recent civil unrest both nationally and locally underscore the public’s deep-seated distrust in law enforcement agencies. This distrust is exacerbated by the lack of transparency in how these agencies conduct their investigations into these cases.
“Mourning families endure additional pain and trauma when they are denied information about what happened to their loved ones. In the last two years, two men were killed by Sheriff’s deputies in my Supervisorial First District: Paul Rea, 18, and Anthony Vargas, 21. Not only are these families grieving these senseless acts of violence, but I have heard of disturbing accounts of Sheriff’s deputies harassing and intimidating both families while they mourned.
“I have also heard that Paul Rea’s family and Anthony Vargas’ family were denied access to video of their respective cases of deputy-involved shootings, despite both pursuing legal avenues. It is disconcerting that the Sheriff is not complying with laws that dictate transparency whenever there is a use of force incident. The Board of Supervisors established the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to keep the LA County Sheriff’s Department accountable for any possible misconduct carried out by its staff. Unfortunately, the Sheriff and the department have continued to defy recommendations and requests submitted by the OIG.
“My motion is one step in addressing this lack of transparency and ensuring that information, per state penal code 832.7, is promptly made available to the public whenever there is a deputy-involved shooting. This Board motion is necessary and important in ensuring that the public’s trust in law enforcement does not continue to erode. We must make sure that law enforcement who engage in misconduct are held accountable. We do this for our communities and for anguished families who continue to suffer in silence.”
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org