COMPTON — Activists continue to put pressure on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to release the autopsy hold on 18-year-old Andres Guardado who was shot and killed in an unincorporated area near Gardena June 18.
The deputy involved in the shooting works out of the Compton Sheriff’s Station, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and is assigned to patrol the unincorporated area where the shooting took place.
“The city of Compton’s contract does not pay for the deputy involved in the shooting,” Villanueva said during a special Compton City Council meeting June 29. “The county pays for officers patrolling the unincorporated areas.
Activists point to the autopsy hold as a sign the department has something to hide.
Activist Najee Ali, who has supported the Guardado family since the killing, said “We have to hold Sheriff Villanueva accountable.
“I met with him along with other community leaders in private a week prior to the Guardado shooting where he pledged transparency to us, but his placement of a hold on the autopsy is the exact opposite of transparency.”
Another high-profile murder where an autopsy report was placed on a citizen killed by law enforcement was Ezell Ford in 2014.
Ford was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department officers in South L.A. His autopsy report had a security hold on it for four months.
The report detailed a “muzzle imprint” which indicated Ford was shot at close range.
“It seems clear to them and myself why the city has been so reluctant to release the report,” said Ford’s family attorney Steven Lerman, at the time the report was released.
Guardado’s family held a press conference June 30, thanking the community for its continued support.
Activist Cliff Smith of the Coalition for Community Control over the Police called on Compton Mayor Aja Brown to cancel the city’s contract with the Sheriff’s Department which may not be as easy as one thinks.
In April 2013, Compton voters approved Measure I, which basically prevented the city from re-establishing its own municipal police department.
The measure was authored by former Compton City Clerk Charles Davis, who now serves on the Compton school board.
Davis said it was important at the time to “lock in” the Sheriff’s Department to prevent city administrations from re-establishing the city police department.
When asked by 2UrbanGirls if he had second thoughts on the measure he authored, taking into consideration the current climate in the city, Davis refused to comment.
During the special council meeting June 29, Mayor Brown and the council grilled Villanueva on both changing contract language and questioned the cost of Sheriff’s Department’s services increasing $1 million in the next contract term.
“The office of the auditor-controller is who you can address rates with and the L.A. County General Counsel determines the language in the contracts, which covers all cities, not just Compton,” Villanueva said.
Under former Mayor Omar Bradley’s administration, the city disbanded the Compton Police Department in 2000 due to a multitude of reasons and stated the cost-savings of outsourcing police would put more money into social service programs for the community.
In 2009, then-Mayor Eric Perrodin proposed re-establishing the police department, but got no support from the City Council. He dropped plans to re-establish the department two years later.