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LA County Board of Supervisors calls for independent investigation into shooting death of teenager

Andrew Cuomo

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday demanded an independent investigation into the shooting death of 18-year-old Andres Guardado by the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

The motion, put forth by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, mandates that the Inspector General be provided with all evidence throughout the investigation as it is collected in the case.

“Our principal concern is that the people of this county have a degree of confidence that we have attempted to make sure that there is accountability, transparency, that there is nothing being concealed,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Guardado was pursued by sheriff’s deputies last Thursday after he reportedly displayed a handgun, looked toward the deputies and ran from the front of an auto body shop in Gardena, Captain Kent Wegener of the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau said during a Saturday press conference.

One of the deputies fired six rounds after catching up to Guardado at the rear of the business. Guardado was hit in the upper torso and pronounced dead at the scene, Wegener said.

Guardado’s family has said he was working as a security guard at the auto body shop. The family, as well as the City of Compton, is demanding the sheriff’s department provide more information about what happened.

The sheriff’s department put a security hold on the coroner’s case, preventing release of any information beyond the name and age of the deceased.

When law enforcement puts a security hold on a case, no one can access the pertinent info.

The new measure ensures the independent investigators are granted “immediate and full access to all evidence requested,” including information from the coroner, according to Ridley-Thomas’s motion.

The current Inspector General Max Huntsman testified that sometimes investigations do call for secrecy.

“But even when there is secrecy, it’s important that there be some kind of means of verifying the integrity of the process,” he said on Tuesday.

Huntsman said his office requested video evidence relevant to the case but is still awaiting a response from the sheriff’s department.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, LA Police Chief Michel Moore and District Attorney Jackie Lacey are expected to introduce a new proposal on Wednesday for a countywide task force aimed at investigating fatal law enforcement involved shootings.

Last weekend, protesters marching for justice for Guardado clashed with sheriff’s deputies at the sheriff’s station in Compton. Rubber bullets and tear gas were deployed against the protesters, some of whom were detained.

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