Media Release: Panel requests investigation into harassment of families following a fatal use of force

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Media Release

November 19, 2019

Panel requests investigation into harassment of families following a fatal use of force

Los Angeles, CA – The Civilian Oversight Commission for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department hosted its monthly meeting today. The Commission unanimously approved the motion requesting a formal investigation into harassment allegations of families affected by fatal uses of force. 

There was also an update on the Family Assistance Program and a presentation by the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner.

Harassment of families affected by fatal use of force

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department has been involved in numerous fatal deputy involved shootings in recent years. The Commission recognizes the concerns of various families who have reported harassment from patrol operations deputies following the death of their loved one.

"Staff has been apprised of several issues that have occurred out in the community, and these issues generally occur, according to the members of the community we've spoken with, after there has been a deputy involved shooting or some significant action by the Sheriff's Department," said Brian K. Williams, Esq., Executive Director of the Civilian Oversight Commission.

This is a significant issue which requires a proactive and multifaceted response, so the Commission unanimously approved a motion requesting the Office of the Inspector General and the Sheriff's Department take action.

The Office of Inspector General is directed to initiate a formal inquiry and assessment if harassment of families by patrol operations staff following fatal uses of force is occurring and the nature of harassment.

The Commission requests the L.A. County Sheriff's Department to initiate a formal investigation of the alleged harassment occurring at the East L.A. and Century Sheriff stations associated with the families of those who have died as a result of a deputy involved shooting.

A letter from Centro Community Service Organization, Black Lives Matter L.A. and ACLU of Southern California regarding the Sheriff Department's retaliation and harassment of grieving families was provided to Assistant Sheriff Steve Gross to point the department in the right direction to begin their investigation.


Family Assistance Program

Ingrid Williams, Management Analyst for the Civilian Oversight Commission, provided an update on the status of the Family Assistance Program, adopted by the Board of Supervisors on July 9, 2019.

Miriam Brown, Outreach, Engagement & Triage Deputy Director, Department of Mental Health highlighted her experiences in the early stages of the Family Assistance Program. She advised on what the Family Assistance Advocates do and provided statistics.

"This is a grassroots idea that now it has developed into a seven department collaboration, a multi-disciplinary team," said Patti Giggans, L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commission Chair and Executive Director of Peace Over Violence. "I feel like this is a flagship program for the Commission; I think this will be a flagship program for the County; and I think the community based organizations are going to continue their due diligence, their engagement to also make sure that it's the most respectful, trauma-informed, transparent, considerate and compassionate program we have."


Medical Examiner-Coroner

Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner, provided an overview of the duties and responsibilities of his Department. He highlighted their scope of authority and their responsibilities in fatal use of force cases. He answered Commissioners' questions regarding access to the body, the process of autopsies and the Sheriff Department's security holds on autopsy reports.



To listen to the audio recording of the full meeting, click here.

Media Contact:

Jennifer Osborn, Community Information Officer
Office: (213) 253-5678
Cell: (213) 952-9036


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