LOS ANGELES >> Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced an investigation into more than a dozen deputies accused of leaving an inmate handcuffed and depriving him of food for 32 hours following a June 19 arrest.
Ten deputies have been relieved of duty and “a number of others” have been reassigned to other duties pending further investigation, officials from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“I expect every member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to perform at the highest standards of professionalism,” McDonnell said.
“Immediately upon learning of troubling allegations of possible neglect of an inmate at the Inmate Reception Center, my Department’s executives relieved ten jail employees of duty, including supervisors,” the sheriff said. “The investigation into this incident is ongoing and will be thorough. It will not only focus on employee actions, but also on corrective policies and procedures.”
Those relieved of duty include two lieutenants, a sergeant, a senior deputy, four deputies and a two custody assistants, sheriff’s officials said.
The alleged misconduct stem from the arrest of an unidentified inmate who was booked at the Inmate Reception Center June 19.
“Allegations included the inmate not being provided food and being handcuffed for a lengthy period of time following a force incident during which the inmate reportedly assaulted a female deputy,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “The inmate ate upon entry to the jail, but was allegedly restrained for approximately 32 hours; during that time he received medical attention and a cup of water.”
The inmate filed a complaint June 27, initiating an investigation, officials said. McDonnell learned of the complaint Thursday and placed the involved deputies on leave or reassignment within 24 hours, officials said.
The sheriff’s department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and Intern Affairs Bureau are looking into the matter, sheriff’s officials said. The Office of the Inspector General and the FBI were also notified of the investigation.
Custody officials at the Inmate Reception Center have been reminded of protocols regarding restraint, checks and feeding of inmates, and additional training was ordered, the sheriff’s department statement said. “Further corrective action is pending.”
“I am deeply committed to providing the highest levels of constitutional care to those in our charge and will quickly address and remedy any conduct, policies or practices that do not meet this expectation and high standard,” McDonnell said.
Further details were not available Saturday.
IRWINDALE >> Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies stood in 24-hour guard Wednesday over the site where fellow deputy David March was fatally shot during a traffic stop 13 years ago.
Afternoon temperatures climbed into the mid-90s as deputies have continued the stoic tradition each year since March was gunned down along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road, on April 29, 2002.
Sheriff’ Jim McDonnell visited the memorial site to pay his respects.
“These deputies from Temple have taken the time to pay tribute to the life of Deputy David March,” McDonnell said. “This tribute exemplified the belief that’s shared throughout the law enforcement community that we will never forget, and that we want to respect the memory and the sacrifice through the year.”
March, 33, who was assigned to the sheriff’s Temple Station, was fatally shot after pulling over Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia. After being captured in Mexico and extradited back to the U.S., Garcia pleaded guilty to the deputy’s murder in 2007 and received a life sentence in prison.
Two by two, deputies, primarily from the sheriff’s Temple Station, took turns standing half-hour shifts over the spot where March was fatally shot, which is marked with a permanent memorial plaque. After standing frozen in place for 30 minutes, deputies changed guards with a brief ceremony.
ARCADIA >> Community members sought subpoena power, transparency and accountability Wednesday during a town hall meeting to discuss the formation of a new citizen’s oversight committee to oversee the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“Transparency shouldn’t be dependent on the sheriff’s cooperation,” Evan Bunch of Los Angeles told the working group. “Time and time again, we have seen that the sheriff’s cooperation does not mean transparency.”
Subpoena power would give the committee the right to obtain documents and other information from the sheriff’s department, even when department opposes disclosure.
Paul Jong, a staff attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, agreed. “Subpoena power is something that is essential for true accountability and transparency,” he said.
The meeting at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden was the sixth in a planned series of nine town hall meetings for residents to offer suggestions on what their believe should be considered to help shape the oversight board, which the supervisors approved late last year in a 3-2 vote.
Throughout the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, cops have been working to brighten the holidays of needy and disadvantaged kids.
Police and California Highway Patrol Officers, as well as Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, have been busily playing the roles of elves distributing toys, food and cheer to young people in need of some holiday spirit.
The California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have run large-scale toy drives to collect gifts for kids who might otherwise go without this holiday season.
And sheriff’s officials even brought Santa Claus, via helicopter, to meet with kids in Compton Saturday as deputies took them on a special Target shopping trip. Sheriff’s deputies also hosted an annual party Dec. 7 for abused and neglected children.
Police officers from both the Irwindale and Covina police departments have delivered toys to the young patients at the City of Hope in Duarte this month.
Police agencies including those in Whittier and West Covina, as well as some sheriff’s stations, joined Target stores for the “Heroes & Helpers” program, in which officers take needy youths shopping for gifts, officials said.
In La Puente, deputies visited schools and churches and neighborhood to hand out about 300 bags full of groceries Friday, sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said. And more food giveaways are planned this week.
Baldwin Park police attracted an estimated 2,000 kids to their police station Friday as they handed out more than 3,500 toys, according to the Baldwin Park Police Association. And of course, Santa Claus was on-hand as well.
PHOTOS: (top to bottom) 1.)Covina police officials deliver toys to children at the City of Hope in Duarte on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. (Courtesy) 2.) Whittier police take children shopping at Target in Whittier as part of the “Heroes & Helpers” program on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (Courtesy) 3.) Principal Mona Diaz of Workman Elementary School in La Puente stands in front of a patrol car as Sgt. John Suh unloads bags of groceries to be handed out to families to help out for the holidays on Friday, Dec. 18, 2014. (Courtesy) 4.) Children meet with Santa Claus at the Baldwin Park Police Station as the Baldwin Park Police Association handed out more than 3,500 toys. (Courtesy) 5.) Irwindale police and city officials from Irwindale and La Puente deliver donated toys to City of Hope in Duarte on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. From left to right: La Puente City Councilman David Argudo, Irwindale police Officer Shawn Cory, Irwindale police Officer Diego Cornejo, Irwindale police Detective Jose Vargas, Irwindale police Capt. Ty Henshaw and Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda. (Courtesy) 6.) West Covina police take children shopping at Target in Whittier as part of the “Heroes & Helpers” program on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (Courtesy)
PICO RIVERA >> Families are invited the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station Saturday as officials once again host their “Haunted Jail” and open house.
The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the station, 6631 Passons Blvd., sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
A “scary and fun-filled day” is in store for guests, complete with lots of decorations along with treats and goodies, according to the statement.
Guests are encouraged to support the station’s holiday food drive by bringing canned goods and other non-perishable items to donate.
The event is being hosted in conjunction with the Pico Rivera Parks and Recreation.
For more information, contact the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Community members are invited to take part in a neighborhood watch and safety meeting Thursday in South El Monte.
The meeting, hosted by the city of South El Monte and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Monte Vista Elementary School, 11111 Thienes Ave., city officials said in a written statement.
Guests are encouraged to come down to meet with neighbors, as well as learn crime prevention and safety tips, organizers said. Light refreshments will be provided while supplies last.
LA PUENTE — Sheriff’s deputies, in partnership with the City of La Puente and the National Latino Peace Officers Association, is in the process of distributing 100 backpacks full of school supplies to needs students.
The giveaway began last week at Workman Elementary School and Hurley Elementary School, and will continue next week at Sparks Elementary School and Del Valley School, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. and La Puente Police Chief Pete Cacheiro said.
The backpacks and supplies were donated by the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and were arranged by Explorers from the sheriff’s Industry Station. Sheriff’s officials worked with the schools to identify the students most in need of the supplies.
In addition to putting smiles on children’s faces, the event exemplifies the “Community Oriented Policing” strategy employed in La Puente, fostering trust between young people and law enforcement.
La Puente City Councilwoman Valerie Munoz accompanied deputies as they distributed the backpacks at the first two schools.
“In our community, we do have students who need these services,” she said.
Students also got a chance to chat with deputies and sit in their patrol cars.
“How wonderful it is they take the time to build those relationships. They’re very present in the community,” Munoz said. ” They’re going above and beyond and making a big impact in our community by being involved.”
Cacheiro and Munoz both credited community-oriented policing with significant drops in La Puente’s crime rate this year, which is among the lowest in the county.
“The effort that they’ve made in community-oriented policing is something that’s shown a vast improvement,” Munoz said.
PHOTOS: (Top)Sheriff’s deputies, La Puente City Councilwoman Valerie Munoz and students of Workman Elementary School in La Puente pose for a photo after deputies gave them backpacks full of school supplies, donated by the National Latino Peace Officers Association, on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (Below) Deputy Richard Muehlich hands out backpacks full of school supplies, donated by the National Latino Peace Officers Association, to kids at Workman Elementary School in La Puente on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (Courtesy)
LAKEWOOD >> A sheriff’s deputy was suffered major injuries Friday when he was badly beaten in an unexpected attack at the Lakewood Center shopping mall, authorities said.
Frankie Estrada, 21, was ultimately arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer following the incident, which unfolded about 8 p.m. at the mall, 500 Lakewood Center Mall, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Reveles said.
Deputies went to the mall to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance between a man and woman, officials said. One deputy located the woman, while the second deputy sought out the man.
“While escorting the man out of the location towards the other deputy, the man unexpectedly turned on the deputy and hit him several times, knocking the deputy to the ground, and continued his assault with a shod foot,” Reveles said in a written statement.
“A bystander in the mall witnessing the assault intervened by pushing the suspect away from the deputy. Assisting deputies arrived, and took the suspect into custody without further incident,” Reveles said.
The deputy was hospitalized in critical-but-stable condition, Reveles said.
Estrada was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, according to county booking records. He was scheduled to appear in Bellflower Superior Court Tuesday for an arraignment hearing.
AZUSA >> Authorities on Wednesday identified the man found dead from a mysterious apparent stabbing in a residential neighborhood as a 19-year-old Las Vegas man.
Jessey Chavira died after he was found badly wounded lying in a pool of blood about 3:30 p.m. outside a home in the 5500 block of Orangeglen Street, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Azusa, Los Angeles County coroner’s and sheriff’s officials said.
“He was discovered by his mother, lying in the driveway covered in blood,” Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The mother immediately called for help and paramedics treated Chavira, but succumbed to his injuries at the scene, officials said.
“His injuries appear to be consistent with some type of an assault,” Hernandez said. Detectives were awaiting an autopsy to determine the “extent and nature of the injuries,” and exactly how Chavira died. The injuries were initially described as possible stab wounds.
“We’re investigating it as a suspicious death,” the lieutenant said.
Hernandez said Chavira had last been seen alive inside the house about noon, a little more than three hours before he was found bleeding in the driveway. He was dressed in basketball shorts and other casual attire.
Initial rumors that Chavira was stabbed as he exited a car were determined to be unfounded, Hernandez said. But investigators were left with few clues into what did unfold Tuesday afternoon on Orangeglen Street.
No one reported hearing or seeing anything unusual before Chavira was found wounded, Hernandez said.
Several people inside the involved home voluntarily went to the sheriff’s San Dimas Station to give statements to investigators, though the interviews shed little light on what happened to Chavira, Hernandez said.
Neighbors also were unable to provide useful clues.
“Nobody could give us even a brief suspect description,” Hernandez said. “It’s very bizarre.”
Detectives continued canvassing the neighborhood looking for witnesses Wednesday, Hernandez said. Detectives were also looking into Chavira’s background and what he was doing in Southern California.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
EAST LOS ANGELES >> A possibly suicidal person on an overpass today caused the complete shutdown of the 5 Freeway in East Los Angeles during rush hour Friday, wreaking havoc on the afternoon commute for nearly four hours, authorities said.
The individual, described only as male, was seen about 3:40 p.m. on a freeway traffic camera grasping a sign attached to the Downey Road overpass, just west of 710 Freeway transition, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Count sheriff’s officials.
Deputies were treating the situation as a possible suicide attempt, and crisis negotiators responded to speak with the man, Sgt. R. Laflin of the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station said.
“Our crisis negotiation team has made contact with him,” the sergeant said. No details were available regarding what the man was saying to officials.
Northbound Santa Ana Freeway traffic was being diverted onto the northbound 710 Freeway and southbound vehicles were being diverted onto Dittman Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol. The transition road from the northbound Long Beach Freeway to the northbound Santa Ana Freeway was also closed.
Traffic backed up significantly on the 5 Freeway, as well as on the 710, as officials continued dealing with the situation three hours later. An air bag was placed on the freeway below the overpass as a precaution.
The man was safely brought down from the overpass shortly before 7:30 p.m., however further details were not available, Laflin said.
The sergeant could not confirm reports that the man may have been scrawling graffiti when first encountered by officials, and it was unclear if the man was to be arrested or taken for psychological evaluation.
The Sig Alert for the 5 Freeway was cancelled about 7:30 p.m.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department