Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who released 25% of the jail population to protect the prisoners from coronavirus at the same time as ordering all gun shops to close, has now admitted he is living in fear of a “crime wave” engulfing LA.
Sheriff Villanueva said he’s “doubling up on deputy patrols” due to the expected surge in crime in the wake of the pandemic after he released 4,276 inmates, admitting those people were jailed in the first place for a reason.
The Sheriff, who boasted the LASD was the first department in the country to order a mass release of prisoners, starting in late February, says it is now unlikely there will be any further inmate releases.
The LA Times reports that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is taking steps to remove Sheriff Villanueva as the head of the county’s emergency operations center during the coronavirus outbreak, a move he called a “pure power grab at the worst time possible.”
Three supervisors reached late Wednesday said the proposed change is months in the making and stems from the need to centralize disaster operations after a fragmented response during the deadly Woolsey fire, which killed three people and burned nearly 97,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in 2018.
But Villanueva said the timing suggests retaliation for his decision to close gun shops during the pandemic, viewing them as nonessential businesses.
“This is pretty much a silent coup, what they’re trying to orchestrate,” Villanueva said. “We should be worried about masks, about test kits, and I have [Supervisor] Kathryn Barger worried about guns and ammunition.”
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