Andres Guardado case: Labor union calls for independent investigation as sheriff's former chief of staff 'reassigned'

On Wednesday, a caravan and symbolic die-in protest were held outside of the Hall of Justice.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Unite Here Local 11 union members and a coalition of groups continue rallying in solidarity with the family of Andrés Guardado, an 18-year-old man who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.

"Andrés Guardado was actually the son of one of our union members, Cristobal Guardado. And what happened to him was heartbreaking," said Unite Here Local 11 organizer Maria Hernandez.

Andrés was shot five times in the back by a sheriff's deputy nearly one month ago in Gardena.

On Wednesday, a caravan and symbolic die-in protest were held outside of the Hall of Justice.

"We know that we're not going to get accountability, right...if the sheriff's investigates themselves. So we need an independent investigator on this particular case," said David Turner with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva's now former chief of staff, Capt. John Burcher admitted to posting a series of Facebook comments, including one that said that Guardado "chose his fate."

We asked the sheriff about this on Wednesday.

"We don't comment on personnel matters. However, he remains as a captain and it's an administrative investigation and we have to keep in mind, though-- he made the comments as a private person, not as a public official. However, because of who he is, then obviously...the link is made there with his official capacity," said Villanueva.

ABC7's Phillip Palmer pressed Villanueva on how he would convince the public the investigation is transparent.

"Well, unfortunately..that's when he was speaking out of school and he's not the decision-maker. He's not the investigator, and that is going to be up to our homicide investigators," Villanueva said.

Capt. Burcher has now been reassigned to a patrol division.

"That does absolutely nothing to address the larger problem, which is the systemic lack of transparency in the sheriff's department," said Guardado family attorney Spencer Lucas.
Miguel Vega, the deputy who shot Guardado while he was working as a security guard, said the 18-year-old reached for a gun. Guardado's family disputes those allegations.

"Out of everyone that was there that day, all the witnesses, the only two people that are making this claim that Andrés had a gun, are the two sheriff's deputies that were involved in his murder," said Lucas.

"They were not responding to any criminal activity but they approached Andrés and weapons were drawn, and Andrés fled in fear of his life," he said.

Guardado's family was not at Wednesday's rally but has participated in many protests since their's son's killing.

"It is very difficult to be with you here because I feel devastated. I thank all my union brothers and sisters and those are fighting for my son. All I want is for there to be justice for son," said Andrés' father, Cristobal at a rally in late June.

Andres Guardado case: LA County coroner's autopsy report confirms 18-year-old was shot 5 times in the back
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The results of an official autopsy confirm that 18-year-old Andres Guardado was shot in the back five times in a confrontation with Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Gardena.

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