"It's not easy to be a cop tod・・・
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- "It's not easy to be a cop today": LA County Sheriff acknowledges reform is needed in law enforcement
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Date:JUNE 24, 2020, JUNE 22, 2020, FILE The Los Angeles County sheriff, Alex Villanueva said that George Floyd's death at the hands of police is a rare event but people mistakenly believe it's happening across the country.
In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday (June 24), Vellanueva said, "For the entire nation just seeing that, that officer with his knee on George Floyd's neck is just something, is just revolting, that really caused everybody to do a double take. But we have to recognize, though, that it's a very rare event. People are trying to sell the idea that what happened to George Floyd is happening at every police department across the nation, and that's absolutely not the truth. We have to keep it in perspective."
However, Sheriff Villanueva, who serves as the 33rd sheriff of Los Angeles county, acknowledged the need for reform in law enforcement.
Villanueva said that his officers will be held accountable if they do not step in to stop another officer using excessive force.
"They have an obligation to intervene if one of their partners has crossed the line as now an abusive or using excessive force, they have an obligation to stop it. If they don't, they will be held accountable. And they're also as culpable as the one that was using the excessive force."
Sheriff Villanueva said he's determined to maintain a two-way conversation with the community, amid rising tensions over the death of Andres Guardado. The 18-year old security guard was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy last week, after reportedly displaying a handgun. Guardado's death sparked fresh protests and a curfew in Santa Ana.
The Sheriff has asked the office of the Attorney General to monitor the investigation in Guardado's case.
"There was people clamoring for an independent investigation and the community, particularly family members, are always... now it seems to be very fashionable to demand an independent autopsy. But the autopsies that our coroners do, there's no question about their credibility, their legitimacy. But people want a different answer. They do not want the answer that it's reality."
Sheriff Villanueva, who leads the country's largest sheriff's department, has been under scrutiny since he took office in December 2018 and has faced criticism over ethics and transparency for refusing to release records of misconduct within his department.
He says despite the recent turmoil and violence in the streets, morale remains high in his department.
"It's not easy to be a cop today. And so we're walking that fine line where we're maintaining the peace, keeping the community safe and working with the community. And at the same time, just navigating through this whole whirlwind of defunding the police and the police are bad and the bad people are good. I mean, it's like the world's upside down. But we're going to block out the noise, we're going to stay focused on keeping the people safe."
(Production: Alan Devall, Norma Galeana) (Caption:3209WD-MINNEAPOLIS-POLICE_LOS_ANGELES_SHERIFF)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (JUNE 24, 2020) (REUTERS)
(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOS ANGELES COUNTRY SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA, SAYING:
"There was people clamoring for an independent investigation and the community, particularly family members, are always, now it seems to be very fashionable to demand an independent autopsy. But the autopsies that our coroners do, there's no question about their credibility, their legitimacy. But people want a different answer. They do not want the answer that it's reality. So people are going to shop for their independent autopsy, they have the right to do that, and I'm not going to take that away from anyone. My concern is when you have elected politicians running for re-election demanding these things because they're just using that as a soapbox for their own campaign and they're sowing, or they're given a reason to community members not to trust local law enforcement. And when they do that, they're doing it for their own political gain, not because we've done anything that merits us not being trusted by the community in this case in Guardado, is a prime example of that."
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