Letters to the Editor: ‘I hope Villanueva’s retaliation doesn’t extend to letter writers’
To the editor: Reading about Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s threatened investigation of a Times journalist for reporting a department coverup of a jail altercation highlights everything wrong with law enforcement in the U.S.
I am not a proponent of literally defunding the police. However, the role and mindset of law enforcement officers as represented by Villanueva are in need of drastic reimagining.
The “us” versus “them” bigotry of Joe Arpaio in Arizona and David Clarke in Wisconsin demonstrates a failed and antiquated way of thinking that seems to be more the norm than the exception. They act as if law enforcement officers are above the law and can use any means they wish in interactions with members of the general public, whom they perceive as their enemies.
Villanueva’s approach does absolutely nothing to promote public safety and further encourages abuses of power by those for whom he is responsible.
Arlando Smith, San Jose
To the editor: I was a sworn member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for 30 years. I worked for three sheriffs during that time.
While all of them had their personality quirks and varying priorities, I have to say that, from what I’ve seen of Villanueva, we’re dealing with a nascent “constitutional sheriff.” This is someone heading a law enforcement agency who picks and chooses from a smorgasbord of legislation, accepting the laws he finds appetizing and rejecting the ones he finds distasteful.
Voters should reflect on whether they want a responsible law enforcement official who is accountable to the people, or a feudal lord interested only in controlling his fiefdom.
Stephen Lee, La Habra
To the editor: From the moment he was elected sheriff, Villanueva has ignored standards and acted more like a dictator than a public servant constrained by the very rules he is supposed to uphold.
It is outrageous that he is using his authority to intimidate and retaliate against a reporter because it has been alleged he directed a coverup. I hope the upcoming election finally settles all of this.
P.S.: I hope Villanueva’s retaliation doesn’t extend to letter writers.
Beverly Magid, Sherman Oaks