A new witness has come forward to dispute Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s claims that he wasn’t involved in covering up an incident of excessive force involving a deputy, and the whistleblower is coming from within the department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A legal filing from former Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon, whom the Times said was “once one of Villanueva’s closest advisors,” claims she personally watched a DVD containing “a video of a deputy kneeling on a handcuffed inmate’s neck … five days after the incident happened” with the sheriff.
Limon “personally walked it into his office, watched the DVD with him, shared disgust with what they are seeing in the video, but then also heard him say this would look bad if it got out to the media,” Limon’s attorney, Vincent Miller, told KTLA.
Villanueva has claimed he didn’t learn of the March 2021 incident for several months afterward, and took immediate action once he did, an assertion Limon’s filing undercuts.
The new filing supports another claim by sheriff’s Commander Allan Castellano, who reported that Villanueva was aware of the incident, but Castellano was not in the room when Villanueva watched the video.
News of this second filing comes days after a news conference in which Villanueva asserted that the claims of obstruction of justice and retaliation against him, and the investigation undertaken by the county’s Office of the Inspector General, are politically motivated.
In that conference, Villanueva announced he is investigating the Los Angeles Times for working “in concert and coordination” with the inspector general’s office to hurt his campaign before votes are cast in the June 7 primary.
Villanueva has also taken action against Limon, demanding that she retire or be demoted four ranks to lieutenant, the Times reported.
“He’s actually framed her to make it look like she’s the one who did the cover-up, and not himself,” Limon’s attorney told the Times.
A spokesperson for Villanueva declined to comment, citing two civil lawsuits and multiple investigations.
“We look forward to presenting the facts in court,” the spokesperson’s statement added.