LOS ANGELES - New documents dispute recent claims by top officials alleging a coverup by LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in connection with a leaked jail video showing a deputy with his department kneeling on a handcuffed inmate's head.
The internal document dated May 1, 2022 titled "Factual Overview - San Fernando Court Use of Force Incident" was authored by chief of staff John Satterfield and addressed to Undersheriff Tim Murakami.
It outlines the events of the controversial March 10, 2021 incident, including observations and excerpts from the department's policy manual, as well as "digital evidence" like Skype records obtained through the LASD's Cyber Crimes Bureau.
Former department employees Allan Castellano , Robin Limon, and Lajuana Haselrig have all filed lawsuits alleging Villanueva is lying about the video's timeline and when he actually found out about the incident.
The leaked jail video appears to show Deputy Douglas Johnson pressing his knee on the head of handcuffed inmate Enzo Escalante for three minutes. The altercation began when Escalante allegedly punched Johnson in the face. Johnson and other deputies wrestled Escalante to the ground, with Johnson putting his knee on the inmate’s head.
At a news conference last month, Villanueva said a criminal investigation should have been started immediately, concurrent with an administrative probe. He has insisted he did not see the video until November 2021, when he immediately ordered a criminal probe and Johnson to be relieved of duty.
Villanueva said the department had launched a criminal investigation into how the media obtained the video.