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Union representing father of Andres Guardado calls on sheriff to resign

A dancer in an Indigenous headdress touches a shirt reading "Rest in Peace Andres Guardado" at a protest over his killing
Hundreds of people rallied and marched outside the Compton sheriff’s station to protest the shooting of Andres Guardado.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

The union that represents the father of Andres Guardado and several advocacy groups are calling on Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign, saying he mishandled the investigation into the 18-year-old’s killing and has resisted accountability and oversight during his term.

The organizations sent a letter to Villanueva on Wednesday afternoon citing his rehiring of a deputy fired for misconduct, the harassment of families who’ve lost loved ones at the hands of deputies, and the failure to disclose records of deputy misconduct and comply with subpoenas issued by the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission.

“You have utterly failed to fulfill your campaign promises to reform the department,” the letter said. “You have dramatically exacerbated its problems by undermining basic mechanisms of accountability and civilian oversight at every turn. This historic moment demands that you recognize when it is time for you to go — and the time is now.”

It was signed by Unite Here Local 11, the labor union that represents Cristobal Guardado, as well as more than 60 activist groups and labor unions, including Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Check the Sheriff, Justice L.A., the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice. Unite Here represents workers in hotels, restaurants, airports and other venues.

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In a statement, Villanueva said he empathized with and extended his deepest condolences to Guardado’s family. He said the FBI’s Civil Rights Division had already met with homicide investigators to begin reviewing the Sheriff’s Department’s shooting investigation.

“We have invited the California attorney general and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to examine the facts of the case,” he said in the statement. “Until the Homicide Bureau has concluded the investigation, we are unable to provide further commentary regarding the facts of the case.”

The groups calling for his resignation showed up at the Hall of Justice in downtown L.A. on Thursday to deliver the letter.

Unite Here said it also led the “Adios Arpaio” campaign in Arizona to unseat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who called himself “America’s toughest sheriff” and was convicted of defying a judge’s order to stop racially profiling Latinos during patrols and turning them over to federal immigration authorities. He was pardoned by President Trump soon after.

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Villanueva has said little information has been released about the Guardado case because the investigation is ongoing. The teenager was shot and killed by a deputy June 18 in Gardena in a case that generated national attention and large protests.

Investigators said two deputies saw Guardado speaking to someone in a car blocking the entrance to a body shop on West Redondo Beach Boulevard. They said deputies saw a gun and gave chase when he ran away. When they caught up, one deputy fired, according to the Sheriff’s Department account. Investigators said a firearm was recovered from the scene.

The Los Angeles County coroner and an independent autopsy found that Guardado was shot five times in the back.

Guardado’s family has said he was working as a security guard at a nearby auto body shop at the time.


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