Acting Sheriff’s Department commander relieved of duty amid criminal investigation

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
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A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department captain has been relieved of duty amid an ongoing criminal investigation, the department said in a statement this week.

The captain — identified as acting Cmdr. Charles M. Norris IV by a source who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the ongoing case — had been relieved of duty as of Monday, according to officials. The source said Norris had surrendered his badge and gun.

The Sheriff’s Department declined to provide information about the nature of the accusation against him or confirm which agency spearheaded the investigation. A spokesperson for the FBI in Los Angeles said the agency was not involved.


“The Department takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and expects all members, especially those in leadership positions, to act in an ethical and responsible manner,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “Individuals who violate the Department’s values and high standards will be held accountable.”

Norris did not respond to requests for comment and it was not immediately clear whether he had retained a lawyer. On the department’s website, he is listed as one of three people who oversee the Special Operations Division. County records show he’s been a captain since 2021, earning just over $200,000 in base pay.

The Board of Supervisors agreed to pay the settlement to Christopher Bailey, who suffered permanent eye damage, missing teeth and facial fractures in 2020.

Sept. 13, 2023

It is rare for someone as high-ranking as a captain or acting commander to be relieved of duty, current and former sheriff’s officials said. According to Roderick Kusch, a former Sheriff’s Department commander who once oversaw internal criminal investigations, there are several reasons for that.

First, he said, it’s a matter of numbers: While there are thousands of deputies, there are only about 70 captains and just a few dozen commanders and acting commanders in the department.

“Typically people at that level are not exposing themselves to situations that lead to them being relieved of duty,” he added, as those positions include more managerial and supervisory work. “That seems to occur more at the line level than the supervisory level.”

Three years ago, two captains were put on administrative leave following allegations of sexual misconduct. Both had recently been promoted by then-Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who was also in office in 2021 when Norris moved to the captain pay grade.