The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an urgent motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to ensure an independent investigation into the death of Andres Guardado, an 18-year old who was tragically shot to death by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies on Thursday, June 18, 2020, in an unincorporated area of the County near the City of Gardena.
“I’ve always been a strong advocate for law enforcement accountability, and the fatal shooting of this young man is no different,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “It is imperative that an immediate and independent investigation be conducted by the Office of Inspector General into the killing of Andres Guardado. The community is grieving and deserves answers.”
Acting on the motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board requested the Sheriff to give the Inspector General immediate and full access to all evidence requested in order to provide independent oversight. The motion also directs County Counsel, in consultation with the Inspector General, the Civilian Oversight Commission, and other agencies to report back to the Board with alternative plans to ensure an independent investigation in this case, including the involvement of the Attorney General to oversee the investigation.
Earlier this year, the Board expanded the duties and powers of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as well as the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC), including the granting of subpoena power, in order to increase objective oversight after troubling reports of department-wide misconduct within LASD. However, despite these efforts to strengthen oversight, LASD has a track record of not fully complying with the OIG and COC requests, as well as even subpoenas. This is a disturbing trend that raises questions into whether the OIG will be able to fulfill its mandated role in overseeing investigations, bringing rise to the Board action taken today.
“After the LASD refusal to provide the OIG with important information in another fatal officer-involved shooting, and after the placing of a hold on the Andres Guardado autopsy, I am very concerned that the absence of robust third-party monitoring will permanently damage public confidence in this investigation,” Los Angeles County Inspector General Max Huntsman said, in support of the Board’s action today.