Los Angeles Sheriff Goes Around District Attorney, Asks For Federal Prosecution in Cop Murder

Written by Sasha Reva

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is engaged in another scandal after his own cops went, without him knowing, to ask federal prosecutors to charge killers of an off-duty LAPD officer.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is trying to push the federal prosecution for the four gang members accused of killing Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, on January 10 because of the fear that through Gascon it could lead to lighter sentencing.

Last year, Gascon reduced sentencing enhancements, such as gang membership. The reduction would have seen Arroyos’ alleged killers jailed for life if convicted. California law stipulates a sentence of 25 years to life without parole, where Gascon’s reforms would’ve offered parole after completing their sentence.  

On his day off, Officer Arroyos was shot by three men and a woman connected to the F13 gang. He was allegedly targeted for the two silver chains he was wearing.

The suspects are gang members Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29, known as ‘Lil J’; Ernesto Cisneros, 22, known as ‘Gonzo’ and Jesse Contreras, 34, known as ‘Skinny Jack’ and ‘Flaco.’ Rios’ girlfriend, 18-year-old Haylee Marie Grisham, is considered an associate of the gang.

George Gascón previously announced he had decided to no longer pursue sentencing enhancements in cases involving gangs. Now due to Gascon’s reform, the gang murder sentence could now result in parole after 25 years. 

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said: “I believe their plan was to just prosecute a simple murder with no gun enhancements, no gang enhancements, nothing,” the sheriff said. “And that really did not cover the depravity of this crime… It should be noted that the California penal code does cover all these things. The tools are there but we need to have someone who’s willing to use them.” 

Gascon continues to pursue a progressive approach to prosecuting crimes. Once again, his policies are hurting the people he is meant to protect. Now, the people who he is suppose to prosecute crimes with, have lost so much confidence that they are doing the most to have him not prosecute certain crimes.

Photo Cred: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images