In response to accusations by Inspector General Max Huntsman that the sheriff’s department intentionally held an autopsy of one of their shooting victims without him, Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded by blaming him for “administrative incompetence,” saying he was trying to “distort reality.”
Dijon Kizzee was fatally shot by deputies Monday in the unincorporated Westmont area near South Los Angeles.
On Thursday, Huntsman said the sheriff’s department had the autopsy performed in his absence despite his asking, “specifically, that they include us,” adding, “I was concerned when we didn’t hear back from them.” He said he contacted the coroner personally and was informed the autopsy “would be over in an hour.”
Villanueva said Friday that Huntman’s comments were part of a “long history of selectively omitting facts which are favorable to his position.”
“Permission to be present at an autopsy is granted, and notice is made, by DME (The Los Angeles County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner), not the investigative agency,” he said. “The LASD does not ‘include’ or `exclude’ anyone from the Medical-Examiner-Coroner’s autopsy. It is not under our authority or control to do so.”
Villanueva noted that Huntsman was present for the autopsy of Andres Guardado, who was also killed by a deputy, and that the inspector general “arranged for his own notification for attendance through DME, as is appropriate and expected.”
“Mr. Huntsman needs to accept responsibility for his lack of preparation and apologize for trying to blame others for his blunders,” he said.
Huntsman had not issued a public response to the sheriff’s accusations as of early Friday afternoon.