By The Vanguard Staff
LOS ANGELES, CA – A Los Angeles County Sheriff Lieutenant – who just happens to be the spouse of a candidate for LA County Sheriff – this week filed a government claim against the department charging “retaliation and racial discrimination,” alleging LASD served rotten food to inmates and hid funds from the county supervisors.
Lt. Sidra Sherrod-Strong also noted the “retaliation” came after her husband said he was running for Sheriff.
A complaint normally is a precursor to filing a lawsuit if both sides can’t come to an accommodation.
Sherrod-Strong, a 26-year department veteran and unit commander for the LASD food services unit, said her involuntary and retaliatory transfer on Oct. 5, 2021 occurred “shortly after my husband announced his candidacy for Sheriff. He’s made a career of correcting dated attitudes in this department, and the facts underlying this claim are a testament to how bad LA needs him in this office.”
“I knew that this race was going to take a toll on my family, but the filing of this claim is my worst nightmare come to life. Sheriff Villanueva just made this personal, and I will work tirelessly to right this wrong for the loves of my life; the people of Los Angeles, and my wife, Sidra,” said Lt. Eric Strong.
Strong added, “I entered this race because my professional and personal experience makes me best prepared to turn around a department that is failing Los Angeles.”
Sherrod-Strong’s unit provides food services to all LASD jail facilities, two separate cafés, a hospital treatment center, twenty-three station jails, and thirty-five contract cities. It has a nearly $30 million operating budget.
The government claim was received by LA County on Nov. 26, according to a press statement by the plaintiff.
The statement noted Sherrod-Strong was, in October of 2019, “alarmed to find that approximately $15 million of the FSU’s approximately $30 million budget disappeared without explanation. She immediately contacted her then-immediate supervisor to report the missing funds.”
“Her supervisor confirmed the department was ‘hiding’ the funds because the Board of Supervisors (BOS) was cutting the budget in the wake of a long list of disagreements between the Sheriff,” and the Board, said the complaint. Sherrod-Strong said her supervisor, “indicated that the Board of Supervisors would replace the funding rather than letting the inmates starve.”
Lt. Sherrod-Strong “expressed her strong concern given her sworn duty to protect those in her custody,” according to her complaint.
“I sounded the alarm about a number of concerning issues because it was the right thing to do. As sworn officers we have a duty to those in our care and custody–and in spite of my extensive warnings my commanding officers were negligent and no action was taken. That negligence enabled what I believe to be a major fraud. It also led to moldy food being served two days in a row to at least 3,000 inmates,” the FSU lieutenant said.
She also “raised concerns regarding unacceptable oversight from management and a lack of accountability for underperforming staff members. But she charges, despite her “extensive warnings related these various personnel, no action was taken. The personnel in question subsequently, and knowingly, allowed moldy food to be served two days in a row to at least 3,000 inmates.”
And, on Oct. 5 of this year, Sherrod-Strong was told she was being transferred.
Candidate Eric Strong, notes he has “led units across virtually every function of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, from patrol to courts, custody, investigations, internal affairs, risk management and auditing,” and “taught use of force and overseen some of the department’s most high-profile internal affairs investigations.”
Strong emphasizes his “personal experience as a victim of crime, someone who has been profiled by police, and who has family members who have been incarcerated and killed by law enforcement,” makes him the best candidate for the Sheriff’s job.
Strong claims he is the only candidate that has led investigations into deputy gangs, and his experiences led to becoming a “founding member of Police Against Racism which strives to dismantle systemic racism in policing.”
A native LA County resident, Strong was in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico. He started as a patrol officer in Compton, and has “received awards for his handling of some of the department’s most infamous internal affairs investigations, including the Quiet Cannon Case which included Deputy Gangs known as the 3000 boys,” according to a press statement.