The deputy crouched down in front of the woman’s sliding glass door, wedging a metal tool in its frame to pop it loose. He stopped after glancing up, startled to see the woman recording video of him from inside her apartment.
In another instance, the deputy is seen wielding a broomstick on the woman’s patio after using it to tap on her door. His hand is later seen opening a window to the woman’s darkened bathroom, while she yells at him to get out.
The video clips depicting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan are among several files from his disciplinary case that were released Wednesday by the county Civil Service Commission.
The records show that Sheriff’s Department officials, and the commission’s hearing officer, determined Mandoyan repeatedly lied to internal affairs investigators by claiming he never tried to break into the woman’s home — statements that were contradicted by the video footage.
Those findings contributed to Mandoyan’s firing in 2016 under then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
Mandoyan “was clearly using a metallic tool he found on [the woman’s] patio and trying to wedge it around and under the sliding glass door,” hearing officer Joseph P. Scully wrote in his report recommending that Mandoyan’s termination be upheld.
“He was not honest or truthful in his [internal affairs] interview which suggests that his reputation for integrity is unwarranted. His lack of honesty alone calls into question his fitness for future service,” Scully wrote in the report, dated Jan. 4, 2018.
Mandoyan’s case has become a major issue for Sheriff Alex Villanueva since The Times revealed that Villanueva reinstated the deputy shortly after taking office. The move set off an unprecedented legal battle between the sheriff and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, which went to court to try to stop Villanueva from reinstating Mandoyan.
Mandoyan volunteered on Villanueva’s campaign and served as his personal driver.
At a news conference Wednesday, Villanueva addressed the controversy over Mandoyan’s reinstatement, saying the uproar is being driven by those politically opposed to him. He said that he stands by his decision and that it had nothing to do with Mandoyan’s work on his campaign.
Records of Mandoyan’s case before the Civil Service Commission, which include more than 2,000 pages of documents, were made public under a landmark state transparency law that opens up some records of police misconduct, including confirmed cases of dishonesty by officers.
The files also show Sheriff’s Department officials cited claims made by the woman, who had also served as a deputy, that Mandoyan told her he was a member of a tattooed deputy clique known as the Reapers and threatened her by saying he “knew people in high places in the department.”
Mandoyan and the woman had been in a romantic relationship.
In an application for a temporary restraining order and in statements she made to law enforcement officials, the woman said Mandoyan grabbed her by the back of her neck and sent her harassing text messages. The Times generally does not identify people who claim to be victims of domestic violence.
Greg Smith, Mandoyan’s attorney, said his client lived with the woman and had keys to the apartment they shared. He said that in the incidents captured on video, Mandoyan was knocking on the door trying to get the woman’s attention after she went inside and locked the door behind her, leaving him without his keys, backpack and firearm, which were inside the residence.
Smith said Mandoyan never assaulted the woman and did not claim to be a Reaper.
The Times reported on the existence of the video this month.
Mandoyan was the first fired deputy brought by Villanueva before a “truth and reconciliation” panel aimed at correcting past injustices by the Sheriff’s Department.
According to a report reviewed by The Times, the panel reexamined Mandoyan’s case in December 2018 and concluded that the deputy brought “discredit to himself and the department” by repeatedly knocking on the woman’s patio door. But the panel, consisting of Chief Eliezer Vera, Undersheriff Tim Murakami and Chief Steven Gross, determined there was not enough evidence to find that Mandoyan was dishonest or that he committed domestic violence.
The sheriff has said he plans to bring other discharged deputies before the panel as well.