Father Sues County For Crash that Killed His Young Sons

January 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The father of two young boys who were fatally struck by an SUV driven by an on-duty rookie sheriff’s deputy in Boyle Heights is suing Los Angeles County, alleging the vehicle was traveling at high speed even though the deputy was not responding to an actual emergency.

Luis Hernandez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges negligence and wrongful death and seeks unspecified damages.

“The Sheriff’s Department has not received this lawsuit nor had the opportunity to review it, therefore we will refrain from commenting on pending litigation,” a sheriff’s spokeswoman said in response to the filing.

Jose Luis Hernandez, 7, and his 9-year-old brother, Marco Antonio Hernandez, were killed and their mother was critically hurt around 7:25 p.m. Nov. 16 in the at South Indiana Street and Whittier Boulevard.

Two deputies were responding to a call about a gunshot victim when the SUV collided with two other vehicles in the intersection and then veered onto the sidewalk where the family was walking, according to a Los Angeles Police Department investigation.

The deputy driving the SUV was training for patrol duties and her supervising officer was in the passenger seat, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said previously.

The suit alleges the deputy “was not in the process of responding to an emergency call, was not in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law and did not have (her) sirens and/or lights activated.”

The deputy “was violating all industry standards for the safe driving of emergency vehicles,” according to the suit, which also alleges she should not have been allowed to “drive on the street before the completion of her training,” was “paying too much attention to too little” and “was driving in a distracted manner.”

LASD Scandal Prompts New Policy

May 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who is suffering his first major embarrassment as sheriff over the departure of his chief of staff because of racially insensitive emails, says he will turn the episode into a teaching moment for his department.

The department announced Sunday that Tom Angel has resigned over the emails, which were obtained from the city of Burbank by the Los Angeles Times under California’s open records act and reported on last week. No details about the search for a replacement were immediately announced.

The emails, sent in 2012 and 2013 when Angel was the No. 2 police official in Burbank, contained derogatory stereotypes of blacks, Latinos, Muslims and others. Some contained jokes that Angel had received and then forwarded.

McDonnell initially said he had no plans to discipline Angel but appears to have changed his mind about the viability of his chief of staff amid calls for Angel’s departure from black and Muslim community activists.

“This incident is one that I find deeply troubling,’ McDonnell said in a statement Sunday. “Chief Angel has offered his resignation, and I have accepted it. I thank him for his many years of service, and wish him and his family well.”

McDonnell said that despite the department’s recent effort to strengthen public trust and improve internal and external accountability and transparency, the incident “reminds us that we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do. I intend to turn this situation into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel.”

He said the department will also be assessing existing policies and systems to ensure “accountability and enhancing cultural and ethnic sensitivity and professionalism among our personnel.” This will include a new system of random audits of the e-mail accounts of department personnel.

“The law enforcement profession must and can demand the highest standards of professionalism, fairness and constitutional policing individually and collectively from its personnel,” McConnell said. “We are only as effective as the relationships, credibility and trust we have with our community; this is a fundamental point that I and LASD personnel take very seriously.”
Hilda Solis, the chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, praised the sheriff’s department.

“Sheriff McDonnell has done an admirable job of steering the department in the right directions with necessary reforms,” Solis said in a statement.

“We must move forward and strive for a law enforcement work culture that values diversity and promotes tolerance.”

Angel has told The Times that he did not mean to embarrass or demean anyone. He said it was unfortunate that his work emails could be obtained by the public under the state’s records laws.

“I took my Biology exam last Friday,” said one of the emails. “I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently `Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”

In Burbank, Angel had been brought in to reform an agency reeling from misconduct in its ranks, including allegations of brutality, racism and sexual harassment.

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