Sheriff Villanueva responds to LA County board's vote to explore removing him from office

Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he wants the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to focus their attention on solving other pressing issues instead of looking at options for removing him from office.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he wants the County Board of Supervisors to focus their attention on solving other pressing issues facing the region in light of the their vote to look at options for removing him from the elected position.

"I wish they would explore ways to solve the homeless crisis, the pandemic, the economic meltdown," Villanueva said during an interview with ABC7.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors last week voted 3-2 to look at options for removing Villanueva as the county's top lawman, rather than waiting to see if voters will do so in 2022.

According to the board, Villanueva has blocked oversight of the department and failed to balance the sheriff's department's budget.

RELATED: LA County Board of Supervisors votes to consider options to remove Sheriff Villanueva from office
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Sheriff Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors have a contentious relationship, and Villanueva's term doesn't end until 2022.

The board has also noted the county has had to pay out more than $149 million in the last five years to settle lawsuits involving the department and civil rights violations, excessive force, sexual assaults and killings.

But Villanueva says those allegations are false, and he says the $149 million stems from incidents that happened prior to his tenure.

Villanueva also congratulated newly elected L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon on his win over Jackie Lacey. Gascon has said he will make it a priority to review cases involving law enforcement officers that were not prosecuted by Lacey.

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The sheriff said he is looking forward to working with Gascon on reforms that are "achievable and feasible."

"I definitely want to see him succeed in his job, but we have to keep our eyes on the prize and that is public safety," Villanueva said.

Villanueva addressed the Andres Guardado case and the medical examiner conducting an inquest into the fatal deputy shooting after questions arose about excessive use of force. The sheriff said the department has been transparent throughout the investigation.

"I'm not sure what new information is going to arise out of an inquest, but we're always willing to participate and share what we have," the sheriff said.

Watch the video above for the full discussion.
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