LA Sheriff Announces Investigation Of Journalist Who Exposed Jail Brutality, Insists Everyone Is Wrong About What He Said

from the sheriff-insists-it-takes-two-to-lie,-one-to-lie-and-one-to-listen dept

When regulation enforcement officers get caught saying one thing extraordinarily troublesome at press conferences, the primary web page of the police playbook is to accuse everybody reporting/retweeting the information of misinterpreting the statements made and/or spreading misinformation. It’s the “my account was hacked” of the Skinny Blue Line — a declare nobody believes however one which police officers insist is the precise fact.

Enter Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva. At a latest press convention, he introduced this picture (by way of Twitter consumer @maryangelafitz):

Titled “WHAT DID THEY KNOW AND WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT?,” the presentation included pictures of three individuals. The primary two (from left to proper) are Eliezer Vera (one in every of Villanueva’s political rivals) and Max Huntsman, the Inspector Common for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Division.

The individual on the far proper is LA Instances journalist Alene Tchekmedyian. Tchekmedyian had just lately printed two articles detailing extreme power deployment by LASD officers staffing the jail.

The primary, printed March 25, 2022, was titled “LA sheriff’s deputy knelt on an inmate’s head for 3 minutes. Officers tried to cowl it up.” The publish comprises a recording from LA County Jail cameras. And it appears extra like a deputy kneeling on somebody’s neck, therefore the consternation expressed in paperwork obtained by the LA Instances.

Right here’s what Tchekmedyian reported.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officers tried to cowl up an incident during which a deputy knelt on the top of a handcuffed inmate for 3 minutes as a result of they feared the “adverse mild” it might shed on the division, in response to inside information reviewed by The Instances.

Division officers have been fearful in regards to the optics of the kneeling, “given its nature and its similarities to broadly publicized George Floyd use of power,” a commander who was vital of the coverup wrote in an inside power evaluate.

They have been proper to be involved. George Floyd’s homicide was a nationwide flashpoint. They have been flawed to cowl it up, and that’s what Tchekmedyian prevented the Sheriff’s Division from doing.

The incident occurred in March 2021. Nothing occurred on the time. The Sheriff’s Division claimed it had not been made conscious of this incident till October 2021, 5 months after it occurred. Eli Vera, one of many “mugshots” on Sheriff Villanueva’s press convention poster board, stated the Sheriff had really considered the recording inside “days” of the incident. Inspector Common Max Huntsman (additionally on the Sheriff’s press convention poster board) expressed his consternation on the Sheriff’s Division’s refusal to press fees in opposition to the inmate, on condition that the justification for this motion was predicated on alleged felony resistance.

The truth that they didn’t raises a crimson flag to the chance … that the motivation was stopping unhealthy press as alleged.

Tchekmedyian wrote a follow-up article containing extra allegations a few Sheriff’s Division cover-up of this extreme power use. It was printed April 25, 2022. A authorized declare — a precursor to a lawsuit — alleged Sheriff Alex Villanueva was straight concerned within the cover-up. The declare says Villanueva noticed this footage 5 days after it occurred, however advised fellow division officers “We don’t want unhealthy media presently” and took it upon himself to make sure the recording wouldn’t be made public.

Sheriff Villanueva failed. Each articles contained the recording, together with a number of damning statements. A few of these got here from Inspector Common Max Huntsman, who was investigating the incident and division’s response.

The county’s inspector basic, who oversees the Sheriff’s Division, is probing whether or not Villanueva lied about what he knew and when. And Lt. Jim Braden advised The Instances that he contacted the FBI to report that he believes the dealing with of the incident violated division procedures and should have amounted to felony obstruction of justice or conspiracy.

When pressed for remark following this report, Sheriff Villanueva promised revenge within the type of a press convention.

The Sheriff’s Division introduced Monday that Villanueva would maintain a information convention Tuesday concerning “false claims” made in a latest lawsuit by a “disgruntled worker.”

Right here’s what the Sheriff stated at this press convention — one which featured a photograph of the LA Instances journalist and was recorded by a number of journalists and broadcast throughout the online:

With Tchekmedyian wanting on from the viewers, Villanueva displayed a poster with massive images of her and two of his longtime foes, political rival Eli Vera and sheriff’s Inspector Common Max Huntsman. Arrows pointed from Vera to Huntsman to Tchekmedyian, implying the 2 males had been concerned in offering the video to the reporter. Villanueva additionally exhibited a listing of attainable felonies below investigation, together with conspiracy, housebreaking and unauthorized use of a database.“That is stolen property that was eliminated illegally from individuals who had some intent — felony intent — and it’ll be topic to investigation,” Villanueva stated. When pressed whether or not he was investigating the journalist particularly, the sheriff stated, “All events to the act are topics of the investigation.”

Sheriff Villanueva additionally stated this:

At a information convention on Tuesday, the sheriff stated he was investigating “all events” concerned within the leaked video, which he stated was “stolen property that was eliminated illegally.” He stood subsequent to massive pictures of Ms. Tchekmedyian and two different individuals.

“What she receives illegally and the L.A. Instances makes use of it, I’m fairly positive that’s an enormous complicated space of regulation and freedom of the press and all that,” Sheriff Villanueva stated. “Nevertheless, when it’s stolen materials, in some unspecified time in the future you really turn into a part of the story.”

Extraordinarily righteous (and rightful) backlash ensued. Sheriff Villanueva, deservedly stung (repeatedly) for his blatant assault on a journalist who had uncovered the wrongdoing of his officers, determined he didn’t need to be stung.

In his protection, he provided up blatant bullshit. In a collection of tweets, Sheriff Villanueva claimed all of the issues he stated (and a number of witnesses considered/recorded) weren’t really stated. Right here’s a hyperlink to the LASD Sheriff’s Twitter thread, which I’ll quote in its entirety lest he be so severely “misunderstood” once more.

It is available in three elements. Right here’s the primary layer of lies:

(1/3) Ensuing from the unimaginable frenzy of misinformation being circulated, I need to make clear at no time right this moment did I state an LA Instances reporter was a suspect in a felony investigation. Now we have little interest in pursuing, nor are we pursuing, felony fees in opposition to any reporters.

Uh huh. So what did you imply by “All events are topics of the investigation?” And what did you imply by “What she receives illegally and the L.A. Instances makes use of it?” Each of these statements — which you made throughout a press convention many individuals witnessed — point out a willingness, if not assertion of intent, to analyze a journalist and the paper she writes for. Solely probably the most disingenuous of individuals (that’s you, Sheriff) would declare the issues they stated usually are not the issues they stated when such stated issues have been documented and recorded by a number of people.

The thread continues:

(2/3) We’ll conduct an intensive investigation concerning the illegal disclosure of proof and documentation in an energetic felony case.  The a number of energetic investigations stemming from this incident will probably be shared and monitored by an out of doors regulation enforcement entity.

Effectively, when you completely should be concerned (and I don’t suppose you do, Mr. Villanueva), restrict your investigation to Division workers. In the event you really feel you have to stray past these line, DON’T. Nothing good can come of it. And given the alleged cover-up, possibly you must simply (1) shut the fuck up, and (2) get out of the way in which.

Defensive Bullshit the Third, Keeper of the Neighborhood Sick Will and Lord of Contradictory Courtroom Testimony:

(3/3) What needs to be of curiosity is the actual fact the LA Instances refuses to acknowledge their reporting, and the account of a disgruntled worker, have been totally debunked throughout right this moment’s press convention.

That’s a bizarre strategy to spell “irrefutably confirmed,” Alex.

Riddle me this, Sheriff: If the LA Instances journalist was by no means thought of a part of the investigation, why did you determine so as to add her face to your press convention presentation? Observe-up (and I suppose that is extra of a press release than a query…): when you suppose the general public is silly sufficient to purchase into your lazy, hapless retcon of your personal press convention, you’re too silly to be entrusted with the immense quantity of energy (by no means thoughts the license to kill) your workplace affords you. Hopefully, Los Angeles residents will resoundingly vote this mind stem operator out of workplace this June, as a result of nobody deserves to be subjected to the involuntary synapse firings of this mind stem operator ever once more.

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