Los Angeles sheriff: ‘Corruption won’ in election loss to politically backed candidate

Alex Villanueva
Alex Villanueva. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Los Angeles sheriff: ‘Corruption won’ in election loss to politically backed candidate

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Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva has taken aim at liberals in his county after being ousted from office in last week’s election.

Villanueva, who won office in 2018 on the back of a tough-on-crime platform, was beaten by former Long Beach police chief Robert Luna, whom he accused of being a “puppet” of the liberal movement.

“Corruption won,” Villanueva told the Washington Examiner. “They waged a four-year campaign to get rid of me for the simple reason that I made decisions based on principle, evidence, and ethics. They are very threatened by that.”

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The entire Los Angeles Board of Supervisors backed Luna, as did numerous federal, state, and local lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Maxine Walters, and Mayor Eric Garcetti. Villanueva raised almost twice as much money, but negative ads and media exposure dogged him during the campaign.

He also contended with a ballot measure placed by the board allowing it to fire the sheriff for malfeasance. The ballot measure won, and Luna secured 60% of the vote as of Thursday.

From the start, Villanueva’s tenure was rocky, with highly publicized rehirings of fired deputies, allegations of deputy “gangs” that abused suspects, and officer-involved shootings. Villanueva said he rehired personnel who were fired without due process of civil service hearings and that he has dealt harshly with any proven evidence of wrongdoing within his department.

“It’s time that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department became a place that’s viewed as the premier law enforcement establishment in the County,” Luna said on his website. “My bottom line: as Sheriff, our service always needs to be respectful, empathetic, and constitutional.”

But Villanueva, also a Democrat, says Luna was elected by the far left who wanted a defund-the-police puppet in office who will end up destroying law and order.

A detective who spoke to the Washington Examiner said Villanueva had the backing of sworn personnel and that it will be difficult to have Luna as sheriff.

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“Everybody is very, very saddened by it. They don’t believe the newly elected sheriff will be able to carry on the mandate that Villanueva did of putting victims first,” said one of the top detectives in the department. “He was not being swayed by politicians or the whim of the day but rather doing the right thing. I would give him a 9.5 out of a possible 10.”

The detective predicted that Luna would be “dictated by the Board of Supervisors, the inspector general, and the Civilian Oversight Commission” rather than acting as an independent elected official in the best interest of public safety.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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