By Ava Schwartzapfel
OAKLAND, CA — CA Attorney General Rob Bonta confirmed this week the California Department of Justice (DOJ) will take on all responsibility for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s (LASD) investigation of certain contracts awarded Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit organization that provides services to people affected by sexual and domestic violence.
AG Bonta said DOJ’s decision to take over this investigation is entirely separate from its ongoing civil rights investigation into the Los Angeles Sheriff Department’s policies and practices.
The DOJ will also assume responsibility for investigating whether any individuals had given Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Peace Over Violence Executive Director Patricia Giggans advanced warning regarding search warrants that were executed against them, which is a crime.
AG Bonta said, “I recognize the deep uncertainty this has engendered and, given the unique circumstances, my team has committed to taking over this investigative process. Make no mistake: We are committed to a thorough, fair, and independent investigation that will help restore confidence for the people of our state. If there is any wrongdoing by any party, we will bring it to light.”
According to the California Constitution and Government Code, the Attorney General has oversight of the state’s sheriff department and has the authority to take control of a criminal investigation when it is in the best interest of the public.
The LASD executed search warrants into contracts awarded to Peace Over Violence at the LA Metropolitan Transit Authority office, Peace Over Violence office, Office of the Inspector General of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority office, the office and home of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and residence of Peace Over Violence Executive Director Patricia Giggans on Sept. 14.
That same day, the LASD requested an investigation by the DOJ into the alleged warning these women had regarding these search warrants.
Considering that the requested information is “intimately related to the underlying investigation from which the sheriff is recused,” the DOJ said, the “DOJ has determined that handling all of the matters is in the public interest.”