The mayor of Los Angeles County said Tuesday that he is investigating a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who reported allegations of his involvement in it. cover up A Guest Abuse Case, an advertisement that has made accusations that it infringed the reporter’s First Amendment rights.
Reporter Allen Chekmedian published article Monday details a legal case brought by an officer who accused Sheriff Alex Villanueva of obstructing the investigation of the alleged abuse and retaliating against the whistleblower.
Ms. Chikmedian also released security video footage of a police deputy handcuffing the inmate, who punched him in the face. Once the inmate was on the floor, the officer kept his knee on the inmate’s head for three minutes.
At a news conference on Tuesday, the mayor said he was investigating “all parties” involved in the leaked video, which he said was “illegally removed stolen property.” He stood next to large pictures of Mrs. Chekmedian and two other people.
Sheriff Villanueva said, “What you receive illegally and use the Los Angeles Times, I’m sure this is a huge and complex area of law and freedom of the press and all that.” “However, when there is material stolen, at some point you become part of the story.”
“Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s attack on First Amendment rights for Allen Chekmedian for making news reports on a video showing a deputy kneeling on the head of a handcuffed inmate is outrageous,” Kevin Merida, executive editor of the Los Angeles Times, said in a statement.
“His attempt to criminalize news reporting goes against well-established constitutional law,” Merida continued. “We will vigorously defend the rights of Tchekmedyian’s and The Los Angeles Times in any action or investigation brought by the authorities.”
Katie Townsend, deputy executive director of the Reporters Committee on Press Freedom, said investigating a female journalist for her reporting violates the First Amendment.
“The publication of pertinent information about an alleged law enforcement cover-up that sought to prevent investigations into the use of excessive force is a constitutionally protected activity and is clearly in the public interest,” Townsend said. “We condemn the Department’s actions in the strongest terms, and urge it to immediately drop this alleged investigation.”
Mrs. Tchekmedyian, covering the sheriff’s circle, break the story On March 25, Los Angeles County officials did not charge the inmate because, according to the article, they were concerned that the attorney’s work would generate negative publicity for its likeness to the murder. George Floyda black man who died in May 2020 in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck.
Monday’s Chekmedian article implicated Sheriff Villanueva as the person directing the coverage.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Sheriff Villanueva denied the cover-up allegations and said he was investigating the video leak.
“We won’t be the only party investigating this,” Sheriff Villanueva said. “There will be other agencies that will also thoroughly investigate this and monitor what we are doing. It will be handed over to the appropriate prosecutorial agencies for them to make their decision.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in an email Tuesday that it “was unable to comment further due to numerous ongoing ongoing investigations, pending litigation, including a criminal investigation.”
“What we can say is that Sheriff Alex Villanueva is committed to transparency and accountability,” the ministry said.