VIDEO: Rehired LA sheriff's deputy attempts to break into woman's home

ByMarc Brown and Lisa Bartley KABC logo
Thursday, March 28, 2019
VIDEO: Rehired LA sheriff's deputy attempts to break into woman's home
Eyewitness News has obtained video shot by a woman who accused Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan of domestic violence.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Eyewitness News has obtained video of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan allegedly attempting to break into his ex-girlfriend's apartment in September 2014.

The video was part of Mandoyan's disciplinary file with the County's Civil Service Commission, and was at least part of the reason former Sheriff Jim McDonnell fired Mandoyan back in 2016.

Mandoyan's rehiring is at the center of a conflict between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who say the rehiring was illegal.

The alleged victim, a former female deputy, accused Mandoyan of stalking, domestic violence and trying to break into her El Segundo apartment. Prosecutors investigated but declined to file criminal charges against Mandoyan, citing insufficient evidence.

In her application for a temporary restraining order in 2015, the female deputy wrote that Mandoyan once pushed her onto a couch and strangled her.

Mandoyan's attorney, Greg Smith, tells Eyewitness News that Mandoyan's firing was "a set-up," stemming from the deputy's lack of support for McDonnell's first campaign back in 2014.

Smith said that Mandoyan and the female deputy were actually living together and that she'd locked him out on the patio after a spat.

Mandoyan was trying to retrieve his phone, his keys, his gun and his badge, according to Smith.

Smith tells Eyewitness News there is much more to come in this case.

Mandoyan volunteered on Villanueva's campaign and served as his driver.

Villanueva has been sharply criticized for the rehiring, but it's a decision he defended at a briefing on Wednesday.

"There was no evidence of domestic violence," Villanueva told reporters. "There was no evidence of attempted burglary."

Sheriff Alex Villanueva re-hired deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan, who was on stage with him as he was sworn-in following the sheriff
Sheriff Alex Villanueva re-hired deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan, who was on stage with him as he was sworn-in following the sheriff's election.

The sheriff went on to call criticism by the Board of Supervisors "political theater."

"It was driven by politics," Villanueva said. "An opportunity to take a shot as I'm coming out of the gate brand new."

A court date is set for June in the battle between Villanueva and the county.

MORE: Judge rules fired LA County deputy will keep gun and badge for now

A judge has declined for now to overturn Sheriff Alex Villanueva's reinstatement of a deputy fired for allegedly stalking, spying on and physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

Mandoyan's firing by McDonnell was upheld in a unanimous decision by the Civil Service Commission. It was a five-day hearing with witnesses and exhibits.

Villanueva's "truth and reconciliation" panel wrote a memo describing a one-day review of Mandoyan's case in December. The panel is made up of three high-ranking, male sheriff's department executives, all of whom were recently promoted by Villanueva.

The memo repeatedly spells Mandoyan's name wrong, as "Mondoyan."

Eyewitness News asked Villanueva at Wednesday's briefing if the "truth and reconciliation" panel ever went back to the female deputy as part of their investigation.

"Was Mandoyan's ex-girlfriend ever consulted or re-interviewed by the "truth and reconciliation" panel?" asked Eyewitness News reporter Carlos Granda.

"Actually, that's gonna be up to them, if they decide to do that," Villanueva replied.

"You don't know if she's ever been consulted," Granda asked.

"No, I'm not aware of that," Villanueva said.

Eyewitness News asked Mandoyan's attorney Greg Smith that same question earlier this month.

"Nobody knows where she is... maybe you folks know where she is. I don't know where she is," Smith said.

Eyewitness News spoke with the female deputy briefly last week. She said she was never contacted by the "truth and reconciliation" panel or anyone else.

"He knows what happened, I know what happened and God knows what happened," the ex-girlfriend told an Eyewitness News producer.

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