L.A. Sheriff Targets L.A. Times Reporter in Wild Rant About Leak Probe

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L.A. Sheriff’s Office

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva hinted Tuesday that a local reporter who has extensively covered allegations he directed a cover-up of an excessive force incident might be under criminal investigation.

According to Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, Villanueva allegedly launched a cover-up after learning a deputy kneeled on a cuffed inmate’s head for three minutes in March 2021. On Monday, Tchekmedyian reported that a legal claim had been filed against Villanueva, alleging that the sheriff had obstructed justice and retaliated against those who tried to expose him.

But in a Tuesday press conference to address “false claims made in a recent lawsuit filed by a disgruntled employee,” Villanueva again denied those allegations before offering a timeline of events following the use of force incident—which, according to Tchekmedyian’s reporting, the sheriff and a lieutenant learned about just five days after it occurred. Villanueva then showed a slide including a press photo of Tchekmedyian, who was present at the press conference, alongside Eliezer Vera, a chief in the Sheriff’s Department who is running against Villanueva to lead it, and Max Huntsman, its Inspector General—who were both involved at one point in the investigation into the alleged cover-up.

Read more at The Daily Beast.