LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday his department is establishing a policy of releasing the names of deputies who open fire on suspects within 30 days of a shooting.
FILE — Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announces an arrest in the ambush shooting of two on-duty deputies in Compton on Sept. 30, 2020, in the Hall Of Justice in downtown L.A. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)
Villanueva said 95 previously unreleased names will be posted online this week.
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The announcement came one day after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion recommending that an ordinance be drafted requiring the names of deputies involved in shootings be released within 48 hours.
“The idea is we want to be as transparent as we can, but we can’t jeopardize ongoing investigations,” Villaneuva said during a talk on social media.
The Los Angeles Times reported this month that the sheriff’s department routinely rejects public-records requests seeking the names of deputies involved in shootings, despite a state Supreme Court ruling generally requiring such disclosures.
Villanueva, during a social media chat Wednesday morning, said the department will create a 30-day window for releasing deputies’ names. He said the window will give the department time to assess any possible threats of violence against involved deputies.
“That 30-day window will give us the opportunity to measure if there is a threat or not,” he said. “We had one of the recent deputy-involved shootings where there was a very specific threat from a criminal gang from prison, putting what they call a `green light’ on deputies. So that name will not be revealed.”
The sheriff did not specify which shooting case resulted in the threat. He said is somebody wants to “complain” about the affected deputy’s name being withheld, “Well, you should complain to the people who are making threats against the deputies.”
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The motion approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday also called for a review of whether the county, rather than the sheriff’s department, can mange the release of records on deputy misconduct, shootings and use of excessive force.