State Watch

LA County officials request inquests into three fatal shootings by deputies

Los Angeles County sheriff
Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has requested inquests into the deaths of three men shot by sheriff’s deputies in August, September and October of 2020.

The men included 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee, who was Black, 41-year-old Samuel Herrera Jr., who was Hispanic, and 47-year-old Dana Mitchell “Malik” Young Jr., who was Black.

The request noted that inquests are not common, but cited two previous inquests conducted in Los Angeles County including the 2020 deputy-involved shootings of an 18-year-old Latino man, Andres Guardado Pineda, and a 25-year-old Black man, Fred Williams III.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the coroner’s office had not performed an inquest in over 30 years before 2020. 

“Lack of oversight and transparency of LASD investigations threatens to further erode the public’s trust that justice will be served,” the request said. “Although State and County law provide for civilian monitoring, LASD continues to resist the efforts of public officials to conduct proper oversight.”

The Times said that this request could cause tension and “deepen a long-standing feud” between the board and the sheriff’s office. 

In a statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department referred to board’s request as a “misuse of coroner inquests.”

“Although a coroner inquest may provide for good political theater from which to launch political attacks, this will be a colossal waste of tax dollars and will not provide one single shred of new information,” the statement said. 

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized the request further at a Tuesday board meeting. 

“The only person, the only entity that’s trying to sell the idea to the public that we are not transparent, that we don’t hold people accountable, is you, the board of supervisors,” Villanueva said at the meeting, according to the Times. “The public already is understanding that this is a straight political attack on the sheriff’s department and myself as sheriff.”

The Hill has reached out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for comment.

Tags California Inquest Los Angeles County Police shootings sheriff
See all Hill.TV See all Video