The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a motion calling for a “timely and independent investigation” into the death of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old guard fatally shot by a deputy near Gardena last week.
The motion, introduced by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, directs L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to give the Office of Inspector General access to all evidence requested in the case.
It also directs L.A. County Counsel to consult with the Inspector General, the Civilian Oversight Commission and other agencies, and report back to the board with alternative plans to ensure an independent investigation.
“I’ve always been a strong advocate for law enforcement accountability, and the fatal shooting of this young man is no different,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. “It is imperative that an immediate and independent investigation be conducted by the Office of Inspector General into the killing of Andres Guardado. The community is grieving and deserves answers.”
The shooting occurred June 18 along the 400 block of Redondo Beach Boulevard.
Two deputies were on patrol in the area when they saw Guardado talking to someone in a car that was blocking a driveway.
Officials say Guardado reached for an illegal high-capacity handgun when he saw the deputies and ran into an alley. One of the deputies opened fire, shooting six rounds at the teenager who was struck in the torso pronounced dead at the scene.
Though the gun was loaded, investigators do not believe Guardado fired his gun at the deputies before he was fatally shot.
It remains unclear exactly what prompted the deputy to open fire.
In a tweet, Villanueva said his voice was “silenced” during the Board of Supervisors meeting and that the motion was introduced “without input from anyone.”
The sheriff posted a video of himself watching the meeting on Instagram in which he accused Ridley-Thomas of being politically motivated.
“There’s no investigation (that) is going to bring him back to life … by the same token we cannot be using this as a campaign for a city council race, which seems to be part of a driving force for Mr. Ridley-Thomas,” Villanueva said in the video.
In addition, the Sheriff’s Department placed a “security hold” on Guardado’s autopsy, CNN reported Tuesday.
One day earlier, however, Villanueva asked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to monitor the investigation into the young man’s death.
“After the LASD refusal to provide the OIG with important information in another fatal officer-involved shooting, and after the placing of a hold on the Andres Guardado autopsy, I am very concerned that the absence of robust third-party monitoring will permanently damage public confidence in this investigation,” Los Angeles County Inspector General Max Huntsman said in a statement.
Nationwide, protests continue decrying police brutality against people of color.