About The People’s Complaint
In California, there is a unique legal mechanism for removing elected officials from office, set forth in California government Code section 3060. Under section 3060, citizens can submit a complaint against an official to a county’s Civil Grand Jury, which may prompt the grand jury to investigate whether the public official should be removed from office. Upon agreement of 14 out of 23 grand jurors, the grand jury will issue an “accusation” for “willful or corrupt misconduct in office” — similar to an indictment in the criminal context — which is presented to the district attorney of the county, who must present the accusation to a superior court jury. If the jury finds that the accused official committed the alleged misconduct, the court will issue a judgment removing the elected official from office.
by the numbers
There are 13 categories of willful and corrupt misconduct in our case:
- Proliferation of Deputy Gang Misconduct
- Attempted Reinstatement of Deputies Fired for Cause
- Deputy Use-of-Force and On-Duty Killings
- Harassment of LASD Victims’ Family Members
- Obstruction of Investigations into Deputy Shootings
- Retaliatory Arrests of Journalists and Protestors
- Mistreatment of Incarcerated Individuals
- Destruction of Evidence in High-Profile Case
- Covert Attempted Seizure of Private Land
- Refusal to Abide by COVID-19 Mandates
- Obstruction of Justice and Oversight
- Retaliation Against Political Enemies
- Continuing Transgressions
4 US Constitutional Amendments have been violated.
- The First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits government officials from subjecting an individual to retaliatory actions for speaking out.
- LASD deputies’ retaliation against victims’ families for exercising their freedom of speech and assembly and speaking out against LASD misconduct is a violation of the First Amendment.
- LASD’s attacks on, and arrests, of journalists and protestors, taken in retaliation for the journalists and protestors exercising their freedoms of speech and assembly violates the First Amendment.
- The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees citizens the right “to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable seizures.”
- LASD’s deputy shootings and harassment of victims’ families is a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.
- Sheriff deputies regularly use excessive force in the course of an arrest, investigatory stop, or other ‘seizure’ of a free citizen, repeatedly violating the Fourth Amendment.
- Sheriff Villanueva has failed to comply with the Antelope Valley settlement, which was based on DOJ findings that LASD had engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory and otherwise unlawful searches and seizures, including the use of unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
- The Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
- The Eighth Amendment applies to inmate conditions, medical treatment, and requires that prison officials ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.
- The inhumane conditions of confinement in the L.A. County jails and jail officials’ deliberate indifference towards the COVID-19 medical needs of incarcerated individuals raise significant Eighth Amendment concerns.
- The 14th Amendment provides due process, equal protection under law, and protects citizens against excessive use of force.
- Sheriff Villanueva has failed to comply with the Antelope Valley Settlement Agreement, which was based on DOJ findings that LASD had engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory and otherwise unlawful searches and seizures, including the use of unreasonable force in violation of the 14th Amendment.
- The DOJ monitoring team has documented how these abuses have worsened under Sheriff Viallnueva.
- Deliberate indifference to a pretrial detainee’s serious medical needs violates the 14th Amendment.
- LASD’s abuses of unhoused populations violates the freedom of movement guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and likely constitutes a form of state created danger.
2 California Constitutional Amendments, and multiple sections within, have been violated.
Cal. Const., art. I, § 2 [guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech and press]
Alleged violations include: (1) LASD deputies’ retaliation against victims’ families for exercising their freedom of speech and assembly and speaking out against LASD misconduct; (2) retaliatory arrests of journalists and protesters.
We also reference allegations made in an ACLU report that the treatment of unhoused populations violate several state constitutional provisions including: (1) the Due Process Clause in Art. I, Sec. 7 of the California constitution, through restricting movement of unhoused persons; (2) The Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause of Art. I, Sec. 17 of the Cal. Const., by criminalizing biologically necessary acts, like sleeping and seeking refuge in the shade; (3) Art. 1, Sec. 13 of the California Constitution, which prohibits unlawful search and seizure of property, by conducting sweeps and red-tagging of unhoused encampments in which they destroy property; (4) Art. 1, Sec. 2, which guarantees free speech, through laws restricting panhandling
8 California Penal Codes, 3 Civil Codes, 3 US Codes, and 3 LA County Codes have all been violated.
8 Penal Codes
Penal Code, § 182 (prohibiting a conspiracy by two or more people to “commit any crime”) – alleged violation is Sheriff Villanueva’s clandestine, unauthorized attempt to use SoCalGas’s private property for his own purposes.
Penal Code, § 135 (“[a] person who, knowing that any book, paper, record, instrument in writing, digital image, video recording owned by another, or other matter or thing, is about to be produced in evidence upon a trial, inquiry, or investigation, authorized by law, willfully destroys, erases, or conceals the same, with the intent to prevent it or its content from being produced, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”) – alleged violation is Sheriff Villanueva’s instruction that deputies delete photographs taken at Kobe Bryant crash.
Penal Code, § 146 (making it illegal for a public officer to act under the pretense of public law to seize property or dispossess any one of land without regular process) – (1) alleged violation is Sheriff Villanueva’s clandestine, unauthorized attempt to use SoCalGas’s private property for his own purposes; (2) alleged violation is the seizure of property when arresting journalists and protestors (e.g., Pablo Unzueta)
Penal Code § 335 (mandating that “every . . . sheriff . . . must inform against and diligently prosecute persons whom they have reasonable cause to believe offenders against the provisions of this chapter” and noting that neglecting to do so constitutes a misdemeanor) – alleged violation is the failure to discipline or prosecute deputies involved in shootings.
Penal Code, § 424 (concerning misappropriation of public funds) – alleged violation is Sheriff Villanueva’s clandestine, unauthorized attempt to use SoCalGas’s private property for his own purposes
Penal Code, § 518 (defining “extortion” as “the obtaining of property or other consideration from another, with his or her consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right”) – alleged violation is Sheriff Villanueva’s use of his position to threaten officials with criminal prosecution and relentlessly harass them.
Penal Code, § 1382 (California Speedy Trail Act) – alleged violation is a failure to manage the COVID pandemic in jails, resulting in significant delays in administration of justice.
Penal Code, § 1524(g) (prohibiting law enforcement from obtaining a search warrant for the content of reporter’s devices) – the alleged violation is the seizure and removal of Pablo Unzueta’s memory card.
3 CA Civil Codes
Civil Code: Civ. Code, § 52.1 (The Banes Act, which “provides protection whenever a person… whether or not acting under color of law, interferes by threats, intimidation, or coercion, or attempts to interfere by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with the exercise or enjoyment by any individual or individuals of state or federal statutory or constitutional rights.”) – the alleged violation is LASD’s deputy shootings, which are often unprovoked and unlawful, may amount to criminal conduct on the part of the deputies, and in many instances violate the victims’ rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and California law.
Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 1991 & 1209 (concerning disobedience of a subpoena) – alleged violations are Sheriff Villanueva’s failures to comply with multiple subpoenas.
3 U.S. Codes
18 U.S.C. § 1503 (defining “obstruction of justice” as an act that “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice) – alleged violations include (1) efforts to block and delay investigations into killings by deputies, (2) broader decisions to undo pre-existing reform efforts and hinder ongoing oversight efforts; (3) use of his position to threaten officials with criminal prosecution and relentlessly harass them.
18 U.S.C. §§ 3161–3174 (federal Speedy Trial Act) – alleged violation is a failure to manage the COVID pandemic in jails, resulting in significant delays in administration of justice.
42 U.S.C. § 2000aa(a), (b) (Privacy Protection Act of 1980, making it illegal for a government officer or employee “to search for or seize any work product materials” or documentary materials, related to the prosecution or investigation of a criminal offense, “possessed by a person reasonably believed to have a purpose to disseminate to the public a newspaper, . . . broadcast, or other similar form of public communication.”) – alleged violation is the seizure of Pablo Unzueta’s property.
3 LA County Codes
LACC § 3.79.032 (permitting the Commission to direct the OIG to issue a subpoena on its behalf) – Sheriff Villanueva’s decision to undo pre-existing reform efforts and hinder ongoing oversight efforts
LACC, § 3.79.070 (requiring the Sheriff or a senior ranking member his to attend and participate in Commission meetings) – Sheriff Villanueva’s failure to attend COC meetings
LACC § 6.44.190 ([“The Departments and their employees and all other County departments shall cooperate with the OIG and promptly provide any information or records requested by the OIG, including confidential peace officer personnel records . . .”) – failure to comply with OIG subpoena, and initiation of an investigation into OIG for discharge of his official duties.