Civilian Oversight Commission issues its first Subpoena, only months after voters approve Measure R.
Los Angeles, CA – The Justice LA COVID-19 Response team commends the Civilian Oversight Commision for utilizing their subpoena power provided by Measure R during the COVID-19 health crisis. Sheriff Villanueva is legally required to appear on May 21st. The commission exercised its newfound subpoena power to obtain information from the Sheriff’s Department regarding the current situation inside the jails. The spread of COVID-19 inside of LA County jails is a systemic problem and requires immediate investigation by the Civilian Oversight Commission.
Sheriff Villanueva has refused repeated requests to appear in front of the civilian oversight commission. It is critical that the Sheriff’s Department implement constitutionally mandated procedures to protect people who are incarcerated from contracting COVID-19 in LA County Jails. This requires compliance with guidelines issued by public health agencies, including the CDC and DPH, to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Commissioner Priscilla Ocen issued the following statement:
“It’s outrageous that the Sheriff is not here to answer questions about what is happening inside the jails. Lives are on the line, and we seek to steer LA County leaders towards actions that will save the lives of those who make up LA County’s jail population. The COC is committed to being an independent investigative body, and we will continue to use our power to hold the sheriff accountable and ensure transparency for Los Angeles.”
Mariela Alburges, Measure R Implementation Director:
“This is a victory for the people of Los Angeles. The Sheriff has not been transparent and has repeatedly lied to our community about the conditions inside. This subpoena is the first step in ensuring that we hold the Sheriff accountable and improve the conditions inside LA County Jails.”