Grand jury investigating Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed a police officer indicted for using excessive force to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the state agency that regulates standards for law enforcement officers.
Justin Berry was one of 19 Austin Police Department officers indicted earlier this year on aggravated assault charges for using violence against racial justice protesters in 2020.
The 19 officers were indicted on two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant that “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly” caused serious bodily harm to individuals, according to court documents. One of the 19 officers has been indicted twice for his alleged actions against two alleged victims, court documents show.
Berry called the charges, brought by Travis County District Attorney José Garza, a political stunt to tank Berry’s chances at winning a seat in the Texas House of Representatives.
In his continued war on police, George Soros funded District Attorney Jose Garza has come after me and 18 other good officers for doing exactly what our department leaders asked us to do and what citizens asked—to risk our lives to protect our fellow citizens from Antifa and rioters bent on arson and destruction…DA Garza is now using his office to try to influence my election. The timing is not just suspect, it is obvious. The riot was two years ago, and he times his indictments of officers two weeks before the election.
Now, as a member of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Berry will have a voice in setting and enforcing the very same use of force regulations that he was charged with violating.
A grand jury has been convened to investigate allegations that Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva attempted to hide an incident in which a deputy kneeled on the neck of an inmate for three minutes while the man was handcuffed.
The altercation occurred at the San Fernando Courthouse on March 10, 2021, just days into the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Video captured Deputy Douglas Johnson directing inmate Enzo Escalante to stand against a wall in the courthouse. Escalante punched Johnson in the face and was promptly wrestled to the ground by Johnson and three other deputies. Johnson placed his knee on Escalante’s neck for more than three minutes after the inmate was handcuffed and was not resisting.
Sheriff Villanueva allegedly lied about his knowledge of the incident, worried that it would bring negative publicity due to the similarities between Johnson’s conduct and that of Chauvin’s, which led to the death of George Floyd. The public first learned of the video from an investigation by the Los Angeles Times:
After The Times report, Villanueva said he first learned of the case eight months after it occurred, in November, and immediately ordered a criminal investigation into whether the deputy had used excessive force on the inmate.
But former Asst. Sheriff Robin Limon, who was once one of Villanueva’s top advisors, alleged in a legal claim that she personally brought a DVD containing a video of the incident to Villanueva — and watched it with him and two others just five days after it happened. After The Times report, Villanueva demoted Limon over the incident.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Commander Allen Castellano filed a lawsuit accusing Villanueva of obstructing justice and retaliating against those who blew the whistle.
Sheriff Villanueva blocked and stalled an investigation into an excessive Use of Force (“UOF”) incident to obstruct justice and avoid bad publicity for his re-election campaign. When Villanueva got caught and was exposed, he moved to cover up the incident, lying repeatedly, and retaliated against the Complainant and other whistleblowers…
The Complainant was alerted of the Escalante incident and took all the necessary steps to promptly and properly handle the matter. However, Sheriff Villanueva obstructed justice and covered the Escalante incident up and retaliated against the Complainant and others for blowing the whistle on the illegal conduct. The sheriff used his usual political tactic of trying to frame the whistleblowers for his own misconduct.
As part of this coverup, Villanueva held a press conference threatening Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, suggesting that she was under investigation for publishing leaked materials including the courthouse footage. After public outcry, the sheriff walked back his allegations.
At a news conference on Tuesday, the sheriff said he was investigating “all parties” involved in the leaked video, which he said was “stolen property that was removed illegally.” He stood next to large photos of Ms. Tchekmedyian and two other people.
“What she receives illegally and The L.A. Times uses it, I’m pretty sure that’s a huge, complex area of law and freedom of the press and all that,” Sheriff Villanueva said. “However, when it’s stolen material, at some point you actually become part of the story.”
A Florida jury found a former Broward County Sheriff’s deputy not guilty of misdemeanor battery last month for the violent arrest of a 15-year-old boy.
The incident under review occurred in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Tamarac in 2019. Police were on the scene to break up a large group of youths fighting when high school student Delucca Rolle picked up the cell phone of a kid being arrested. This, according to cell phone video, triggered Deputy Christopher Krickovich and Sgt. Greg Lacerra to also arrest Rolle.
Cellphone video shows a sheriff’s sergeant pepper-sprayed the teen and threw him to the ground. Krickovich is seen jumping on the teen, twice slamming his forehead into the ground and punching him. A third deputy helps Krickovich pin the teen’s arms behind his back to be handcuffed as the video ends.
Krickovich was eventually fired and charged with misdemeanor battery. During trial, Sgt. Mel Murphy, who trained Krickovich, called the officer’s actions “a beautiful display” of technique and a “lawful use of force.” The jury agreed, acquitting Krickovich after three hours of deliberation.
The city of Vincent, a small Alabama town outside of Birmingham, voted unanimously to fire its police chief and dissolve the entire department after a racist joke was texted among officers.
An officer, allegedly identified as Assistant chief John Goss, sent a text message to other officers saying: “What do y’all call a pregnant slave?”
An unidentified recipient responds twice: “?” and “??”
The original officer responds: “BOGO Buy one, get one free”
After the text message was posted on social media, the City Council fired both Goss and Police Chief James Srygley and passed an ordinance to disband the Vincent Police Department. The Shelby County Sheriff’s office will provide law enforcement services for the city until the council and local residents determine a path forward.