Measure to give supervisors the power to remove sheriff, one step closer to the vote

A measure that would give Los Angeles County regulators the power to remove the sheriff is one step closer to the vote in November.

The regulators voted 4-1 after a second reading on Tuesday, with a third and final vote on August 2. If the vote remains 4-1, the measure will be added to the November 8 vote, giving Angelenos a chance to vote on it.

Should the measure pass the vote, voters will have to decide whether to give regulators the power to remove not only the county’s current sheriff but also future sheriffs for conduct she believes is an “abuse of power” or “violation.” . of the law.”

“Responsibility for law enforcement is public safety,” regulator Hilda Solis said in a statement after the measure’s first reading. “Ensuring that our residents can vote to be free from law enforcement harassment, intimidation, and misconduct and hold them accountable for any harm and trauma resulting therefrom is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors, particularly the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office. County. This charter change would provide residents with the oversight they expect and the peace of mind from the abuse of law enforcement officers they deserve.”

Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the measure a conflict of interest and said the sheriff will hold elected officials accountable for crimes, giving them the power to remove a sheriff so that the regulators can “basically dictate who is investigated and who is not investigated.” .

The only dissenting vote came from Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who noted that there were already three other viable options for removing a sheriff, including a written charge of corrupt conduct to the District Attorney, legal action from the Attorney General, or a recall. based on signatures from at least 10% of voters in LA County.

“I do believe it sets a dangerous precedent and creates a slippery slope,” Barger said of the amendment at first reading. “The motion appears to be more about an individual than the sheriff’s office, or promoting responsibility in community safety through check-and-balances.”

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl responded to Barger’s objections by accusing the sheriff’s department of alleged corruption and saying county voters supported the amendment.

“Somebody has to control that power,” Kuehl said. “It’s not just about Alex, but he certainly gave us reason and gave us a break over all power.”

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