Sheriff Villanueva bans inspector general from department facilities

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced this week that he is banning Inspector General Max Huntsman from the department‘s facilities and databases, effectively blocking the county watchdog from doing his job overseeing the Sheriff’s Department.

The extraordinary move ramps up a years-long power struggle between the sheriff that has been marked by Villanueva launching criminal investigations into Huntsman and leveling personal attacks, including an unfounded claim that Huntsman is a Holocaust denier. Huntsman has said repeatedly that Villanueva has routinely broken the law when trying to circumvent Huntsman‘s authority to oversee the sheriff and his department.

“Mr. Huntsman will be removed from all access to Department facilities, personnel, and databases effective immediately,” Villanueva wrote in a letter Wednesday to the Board of Supervisors. “This standard is applied to all Department personnel who are named as a suspect in a criminal case involving felony crimes.”

Huntsman declined to comment Thursday.

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