County supervisor blasts attorneys over sheriff investigation secrecy

A Los Angeles County supervisor blasted her government attorneys Tuesday for not allowing her to see reports from internal investigations of deputy-involved shootings and other use-of-force incidents.

Gloria Molina, who has frequently complained about the cost to the county of lawsuits alleging wrongdoing by the Sheriff's Department, said board members aren't getting information needed to decide whether taxpayers should pay to represent deputies in court.

Molina wants other board members to support her request for Sheriff's Department investigation records related to a September 2013 deputy-involved shooting in East Los Angeles. One of the deputies connected to the incident had been involved in six prior shootings. Molina is pressing the board to declare it needs access to such reports to perform its duty to  monitor the Sheriff's Department.

"If you look at these claims and the multimillions of dollars that are taking away from other services of taxpayer funds, it is unbelievable that I have a set of lawyers that will not advocate on my behalf," she said.

The board recently hired an inspector general to probe complaints about the Sheriff's Department. The supervisors also are considering the creation of a civilian oversight commission.

Molina argued that not allowing the board members to see investigative reports undermines the inspector general.

"How can you delegate something you don't have?" she said. "You're basically cutting off the feet of the inspector general. So I'm really outraged about it."

Richard Weiss, chief deputy in the office of county counsel, declined to comment on the office's reasons for not giving the supervisors access to the reports.

The board will discuss the issue at next week's meeting. County Counsel John Krattli said he would send members a confidential memo outlining his reasons for denying them access to the reports.



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