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Civilian Oversight Commission Calls On Sheriff Villanueva To Resign

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission Thursday unanimously approved a resolution calling for the immediate resignation of Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

The commission had originally planned to adopt a resolution accusing the sheriff of failing to cooperate with the oversight panel and vowed to hold him accountable if he continued to "facilitate dysfunction" in the agency. But, during the discussion, commission members decided to escalate the language and demand his resignation.

Commission Chair Lael Rubin made the initial call to add language calling for Villanueva to step down.

"I don't think he has any intention of making anything better," she said, noting that some members of the panel individually called on the sheriff to step down last month.

"One would have hoped that during the last month, with all of that discussion and public comment and comments in news articles that he would take some of that to heart," she said. "He obviously has not."

Other commission members joined the call, with Commissioner Priscilla Ocen stating that for the panel to pass a resolution simply expressing "grave concerns" would be an "understatement."

"He fails to take responsibility for problems in his department, blaming everyone else," Ocen said. "... He blames everyone else, including the former sheriff, for the problems he's responsible for."

Villanueva has repeatedly dismissed criticism from the commission, calling its members political pawns of the Board of Supervisors, with whom the sheriff has repeatedly clashed on budget and other issues. On Wednesday, he said the county should have an elected oversight commission to prevent "political appointees" of the board.

"Their political philosophies are they really, really hate cops or they slightly hate cops or they're not too sure," Villanueva said.

Despite amending the resolution to call for Villanueva's resignation and stating that it had "lost confidence in Sheriff Villanueva's ability to effectively govern the sheriff's department," the panel still said it was committed to implementing "constructive reforms" and wished to see Villanueva "succeed in rebuilding the sheriff's department."

The commission has no legal authority to force Villanueva out of office or to force him to resign.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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