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L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Being Investigated By Attorney General For ‘Unconstitutional Policing’

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LASD LA County Sheriff's Department (1)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a civil rights investigation of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) on Friday to determine if the department has engaged in a “pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing.”

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation comes on the heels of allegations of excessive force, retaliation, and other misconduct, as well as a number of recently reported incidents involving LASD management and personnel, according to the attorney general’s office.

“Those of us in positions of public trust know that the job comes with the solemn obligation to be accountable to the people we serve. Because of the nature of the work involved in law enforcement, that duty of care is heightened,” said Becerra in a statement. “There are serious concerns and reports that accountability and adherence to legitimate policing practices have lapsed at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We are undertaking this investigation to determine if LASD has violated the law or the rights of the people of Los Angeles County.”

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva issued a statement saying he is “looking forward to this non-criminal ‘pattern and practice’ investigation.

“Our department may finally have an impartial, objective assessment of our operations, and recommendations on any areas we can improve our service to the community,” Villanueva said. “During my administration, we have routinely requested the state office of the attorney general to monitor our investigations, and we will provide immediate access to all information in our possession. We are eager to get this process started, in the interest of transparency and accountability.”

Under the California Constitution and California Civil Code, the attorney general is authorized to conduct civil investigations into whether a law enforcement agency has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating state or federal law, according to Becerra’s office.

“As opposed to a criminal investigation into an individual incident or incidents, a pattern or practice investigation typically works to identify and, as appropriate, ultimately address potentially systemic violations of the constitutional rights of the community at large by a law enforcement agency,” the attorney general’s office said.

With regards to LASD, the attorney general has made no determinations at this time about specific complaints or allegations or about the agency’s policies and practices.

The attorney general’s office encourages anyone with information relevant to this investigation to contact DOJ’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section here.

Note: This story has been updated with a statement from L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Crash

Vehicle Crashes Over Side Of 5 Freeway In Newhall Pass

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CHP Vehicle California Highway Patrol (1)

A vehicle crashed about 30 feet over the side of the 5 Freeway onto The Old Road in the Newhall Pass Monday morning.

The crash was reported at about 10:50 a.m. Monday near The Old Road and Weldon Canyon Road in Newhall, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Initial reports to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) indicated the vehicle landed on its roof after crashing down a hillside, according to CHP logs.

Two paramedic squads and ambulances were requested to the scene, according to fire officials.

The Santa Clarita Valley Search and Rescue team responded to the incident but were later canceled.

A total of two victims from one vehicle were transported to a local hospital in unknown condition, according to the department.

This is a breaking news story, more information will be added as it becomes available.

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Snow Flurries In Santa Clarita Valley Possible After Next Storm System Arrives

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5 Freeway Grapevine Snow (1)
Photo Courtesy of the CHP Fort Tejon Area Office

Snow flurries in parts of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys are possible as another storm is predicted to hit the Southland.

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists are reporting a “brief lull” between storms Sunday morning with another system moving into Southern California in the afternoon. 

Snow accumulations across the Antelope Valley foothills could be between one to three inches near Highway 138 from Llano to Little Rock and Highway 138 west of the 14 Freeway towards Neenach to near Gorman.

The Santa Clarita Valley could see a dusting as well, according to the NWS.

Forecasters “would not be surprised” if portions of Santa Clarita Valley saw some snow flurries, especially around the foothills on Monday, according to the NWS.

Snow levels are expected to lower to 2000 feet and possibly down to 1500 feet, according to the weather service.

High winds are expected to affect portions of the Antelope Valley, a high wind watch is in effect Monday morning through the evening with gusts possibly exceeding 60 mph. 

The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a cold weather alert due to wind chill temperatures expected to be below freezing.

The weather alert is in effect for the Santa Clarita Valley from Monday, Jan.25 through Tuesday, Jan. 26, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

In the Antelope Valley, the alert is in effect from Sunday through Thursday, Jan. 28.

“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer in a statement. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbeques or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Due to the predicted snow, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Fort Tejon Area Office has implemented “Operation Snowflake” to prepare for a possible shut down of the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine. 

As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the I-5 remains open, with CHP officers monitoring road conditions. 

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Crash

Jackknifed Big Rig Prompts SigAlert Near Newhall Pass

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5 Freeway Crash SigAlert
Photo Courtesy of Oscar Sol

A jackknifed big rig is leaking fuel Saturday afternoon, prompting a SigAlert in Sylmar near the Newhall Pass.

The crash was first reported at about 12:05 p.m. Saturday at the northbound 5 Freeway truck route near north of the 210 Freeway, according to Brian Humphrey, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

Upon arrival, firefighters reported a multi-vehicle collision in the truck lanes, involving a jackknifed big rig leaking diesel fuel from a punctured 100-gallon tractor tank, according to Humphrey.

LAFD personnel have stopped the leak and are working to contain the spill as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has issued a SigAlert for the truck route transition from the westbound 210 Freeway to the northbound I-5, according to CHP logs.

All lanes of the transition are estimated to be closed for about one hour, according to the CHP.

Initial reports to the CHP indicated the collision involved three big rigs, including a tomato truck and a Freightliner.

No injuries have been reported in connection to the incident.

Photo Courtesy of Oscar Sol

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