L.A. sheriff focused lieutenant for donating to opponent, lawsuit says


A Los Angeles County sheriff’s lieutenant filed a lawsuit Monday alleging sheriff’s officers focused him with a trumped-up felony investigation as retaliation after he made a marketing campaign donation to one among Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s political challengers.

Within the lawsuit filed Monday in L.A. County Superior Courtroom towards the county, Villanueva, and different sheriff’s officers, Lt. Joseph Garrido claims his $1,500 donation to retired Cmdr. Eli Vera’s marketing campaign led to him being the topic of a bogus felony probe into whether or not he misused his department-issued automobile.

Garrido additionally alleges within the lawsuit {that a} coveted project that had been provided to him was rescinded due to his help for Vera.

Garrido’s legal professional, Vince Miller, accused Villanueva of being behind the hassle to punish his consumer.

“He’s forcing out any person, ending somebody’s profession, destroying their popularity as a result of they’re exercising their free speech rights,” Miller mentioned. Miller at the moment represents greater than a dozen division staff in lawsuits towards the division.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Division declined to touch upon the lawsuit, saying officers had not but seen it.

The lawsuit additionally alleges the retaliation Garrido confronted was due partly to his makes an attempt to report misconduct by others within the division. Together with serving to to show a scheme by sheriff’s officers to withhold bonus pay owed to deputies with particular coaching in explosives, which resulted within the county paying out greater than $3 million in again pay, Garrido claims he known as consideration to the overheating loss of life of a police canine.

Garrido, who has been a member of the division’s elite Particular Enforcement Bureau since Might 2018, is a detailed buddy and supporter of Vera, who ran for sheriff within the June major however didn’t get sufficient votes to advance to a runoff.

Marketing campaign finance data present Garrido made his contribution to Vera in June of final 12 months. In November, Garrido alleges he acquired a name from Carl Mandoyan, a former deputy who had a detailed relationship with the sheriff. On the decision, Mandoyan repeatedly pressed Garrido to clarify why he donated to Vera’s marketing campaign, the lawsuit says. Mandoyan turned a controversial determine within the division when Villanueva fought unsuccessfully to rehire him after he’d been fired over allegations of home violence and dishonesty.

Mandoyan advised The Instances Monday that Garrido known as him asking for assist to get into the division’s arson and explosives unit and provided up the data himself about donating to Vera.

“I mentioned ‘OK, you’re free to take action,’” Mandoyan mentioned.

After the decision, Villanueva allegedly requested his employees to compile data on candidates for an project overseeing the division’s arson unit — a job Garrido says within the lawsuit he had already been given.

In accordance with the lawsuit, Asst. Sheriff Bruce Chase heard Villanueva convey up the very fact a number of instances that Garrido was supporting Vera and had given to his marketing campaign. Throughout one of many encounters, the lawsuit says, Chase advised Villanueva that he believed Garrido was essentially the most certified individual for the arson unit job.

Villanueva chosen another person for the place, the lawsuit says.

Chase didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Earlier this 12 months, the lawsuit says, Garrido acquired wind of false allegations circulating within the division that he had been seen hauling a ship together with his department-assigned Chevrolet Tahoe.

In Might, Garrido wrote a memo to a supervisor rebutting the false accusations towards him, based on the lawsuit. The day after he despatched the memo, a sergeant confirmed up on his block to interview neighbors, the lawsuit alleges.

Garrido confronted Sgt. William Morris, who confirmed he was finishing up a felony investigation into Garrido, based on a recording of the dialog Garrido made that was reviewed by The Instances.

Throughout the dialog, Garrido identified a “Vera for Sheriff” marketing campaign signal at his home, which he instructed was the explanation behind the investigation.

“Most likely so,” Morris mentioned, based on the recording.

Morris on Monday advised The Instances that the remark was “only a response to what he was saying.”

“I do not know why this case took place,” Morris mentioned.

Morris mentioned he had “no concept” who made the preliminary allegation about Garrido. Requested if there was any benefit to the declare, he declined to remark, saying the case remains to be beneath investigation.

The lawsuit additionally says that the sergeant provided one among Garrido’s neighbors $300 for the username and password to her safety video system.

The Sheriff’s Division for months has refused to reply questions from The Instances concerning the loss of life of the police canine that Garrido’s lawsuit alleges he reported. Garrido’s lawsuit says that the canine, named Spike, overheated after a sergeant left him in a automotive for greater than 4 hours.

Lt. Oscar Martinez, a spokesperson for the division, confirmed that the 6-year-old canine, educated in detecting accelerants utilized by arsonists, died in East L.A. in 2020 however refused to supply particulars of how the loss of life occurred.

He mentioned that the incident was investigated and “discovered no worker misconduct or negligence was concerned within the loss of life.” He additionally mentioned “medical personnel” had been unable to find out the reason for loss of life.

A supply, who requested anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the matter, advised The Instances there’s no file of an investigation being carried out into the canine’s handler.

The Instances reviewed an electronic mail across the time of the canine’s loss of life wherein a sheriff’s official suggested canine handlers to examine the warning system of their automobiles.

“Do NOT, beneath any circumstances, place any canine in a automobile with out first inspecting and making certain the warmth alarm system is functioning as supposed. Do NOT, beneath any circumstances, place any canine in a automobile with an inoperable or malfunctioning warmth alarm system,” the e-mail mentioned.

Supply hyperlink