LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors called Tuesday for an independent investigation into the death of an 18-year-old who was shot by a sheriff’s deputy last week.
Supervisors unanimously approved a motion asking the sheriff to provide the county’s inspector general with “immediate and full access to all evidence requested in order to provide independent oversight.”
The motion also called on the county counsel to report on alternative plans for an independent probe, including possible involvement by California’s attorney general.
The move will ensure that “the truth is uncovered and justice is served,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion.
Andres Guardado was shot by a sheriff’s deputy last Thursday near the city of Gardena.
Patrolling deputies said they saw him talking to someone in a car that was blocking a driveway and that Guardado had a gun when he saw deputies and began to run, leading to a chase and the shooting. A deputy fired a half-dozen shots at Guardado, who was struck in the torso and died at the scene.
Family members and friends said Guardado worked as a security guard at a nearby auto body shop but the Sheriff’s Department has said he was too young to be licensed as a guard, wasn’t wearing a uniform and had a loaded “ghost” gun that appeared to have been pieced together from different parts, lacked a serial number and had an illegal high-capacity magazine.
Investigators said they don’t believe Guardado fired the gun at deputies.
Guardado’s family has denied the gun was his and the shooting has sparked protests.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted that he wasn’t allowed to speak before the motion was passed and accused supervisors of “playing politics.”
On Monday, Villanueva said he had asked state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to monitor the shooting investigation “out of an abundance of caution.”
“I am committed to transparency and strengthening community faith in the investigative process,” Villanueva tweeted.
Killings of people of color by law enforcement have sparked protests around the world, spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a police officer put a knee against his neck for nearly eight minutes.
On Wednesday, Villanueva, along with the county district attorney and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore planned to announce a proposal to create a county-wide task force of “experienced investigators” from the Sheriff’s Department, LAPD and local police agencies to investigate shootings and fatal uses of force by law enforcement in the county, according to an announcement.