The ACLU of Southern California calls for the resignation of an elected local official only in dire circumstances when that official presents a "grave and imminent threat to civil liberties."

Sadly, we have reached that point with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has turned his back on the people of L.A. and is actively undermining efforts to rein in a department with a long history of abuse and an utter lack of transparency and accountability. He holds a position of the highest trust, and he has betrayed it.

For decades, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) has been rife with corruption, abuse of power, and impunity. When Sheriff Villanueva took office, many hoped he would work to repair the wreckage that his predecessors, including now-imprisoned former Sheriff Lee Baca, left behind.

From the moment he was elected and sought to reinstate Carl Mandoyan and other deputies who had been previously fired for serious misconduct, he has utterly failed to fulfill his campaign promises to reform the department and instead has:

  • Spearheaded a sweeping undoing of reforms for accountability, transparency and civilian oversight that community organizations and advocacy groups have fought for decades.
  • Stonewalled an independent investigation in LASD’s June 18 killing of 18-year-old Andres Guardado in Gardena. The FBI is now investigating this case—an extraordinary step.
  • Allowed the systematic harassment of grieving families of community members whom deputies have killed—in retaliation against their seeking the truth about their deaths and justice. In that same vein, he has tolerated so-called “secret societies” of sheriff deputy gangs, like the Banditos in East Los Angeles, that perpetrate violence against the community—prompting an FBI investigation last year.
  • Violated his department's own policies by killing active investigations into serious misconduct involving allegations such as child abuse, domestic violence, and rape of a person in custody.
  • Blocked access to the Office of Inspector General, whose job is to provide oversight on the department, and failed to disclose records of deputy misconduct to which families and the public are legally entitled under—prompting the ACLU SoCal and the L.A. Times to bring suit against him.
  • Defied the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission’s subpoenas—as well as the will of Angelenos who overwhelmingly voted for Measure R.

We therefore join UNITE HERE Local 11, Black Lives Matter-LA, JusticeLA and more than 50 organizations in calling for his resignation. It's time for Villanueva to go.

Message Recipients

To: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
Cc: Supervisor Hilda Solis, First District
Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Second District
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Third District
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Fourth District
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Fifth District

[The Form Label field is hidden on ACLU message action forms]
Your Message
Sheriff Villanueva,

Your extraordinary failure of leadership is exemplified by your stonewalling an independent investigation in the Sheriff’s Department’s June 18 killing of 18-year-old Andres Guardado. Like others killed at the hands of law enforcement, Andres was not just a statistic. He was the son of longtime UNITE HERE Local 11 member Cristobal Guardado.

Your mishandling of Andres's killing reflects a pattern of abuse, secrecy, and thwarted accountability that has marred your tenure. Your continuation in office represents a “grave and imminent threat to civil liberties.” It is clear that you cannot lead the Sheriff’s Department through the process of much-needed transformative work during these historic times.

As a Los Angeles County resident, I join UNITE HERE Local 11, the ACLU SoCal, Black Lives Matter-LA, JusticeLA and more than 50 other organizations in demanding your immediate resignation.


[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

Recent participants