L.A. sheriff targeted lieutenant for donating to opponent, lawsuit says
A California sheriff’s officer who was investigated for allegedly making threatening remarks on an Obama Facebook page says he has been targeted by retaliatory action and is suing the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and the sheriff for alleged civil rights violations.
Lt. Brian Smith, deputy chief of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit today in Los Angeles against the county and the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.
In the complaint, which Smith filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Smith claims that the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office filed a politically motivated criminal case against him and other deputies against two deputies who had taken a Facebook political action in support of another deputy’s campaign for a sheriff’s post.
The suit claims that, during a public meeting in June 2012, Smith made an “unauthorized and unlawful, false and malicious” statement that the two deputies would be “taken out of a job” if they didn’t “stop the criminal behavior” of their fellow department members.
Also in the court document, Smith claims that after the meeting he was falsely suspected of posting a Facebook comment that was “a direct and unambiguous threat against certain specific individuals involved in criminal activity” and that he “wished death to these individuals and wished injury to their property and assets.”
Smith and the two deputies were fired, and Smith’s suit claims the L.A. County Sheriff-Supervisor’s office “conspired to and did retaliate against Plaintiff, and as a direct result of this retaliatory conduct, filed criminal charges against him that were based entirely on false and malicious accusations.”
The suit also claims that in the wake of the sheriff’s department’s