LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County sheriff disputed allegations he orchestrated the cover-up of an incident where a deputy knelt on a handcuffed inmate’s head for more than three minutes.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva also indicated Tuesday that a Los Angeles Times reporter is under criminal investigation after she first reported the incident last month and the newspaper published a leaked video showing the incident. Villanueva said the video was “stolen property that was removed illegally” and that the department would investigate all parties involved in the leak.
The sheriff later clarified that the agency is not pursuing criminal charges against any reporters.
The paper’s top editor condemned Villanueva’s remarks.
"His attempt to criminalize news reporting goes against well-established constitutional law," said Kevin Merida, executive editor of the Los Angeles Times.
The inmate received minor injuries in last year's incident, which occurred after he punched a deputy.
The inmate has been charged with resisting an officer.
The deputy's actions are still being investigated.