An effort by Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones to obstruct and remove investigative authority over his department went before the county on Tuesday — and a majority of supervisors were not pleased.
County Executive Navdeep Gill presented Jones’ plan to the board, and Supervisor Don Nottoli took the first swipe.
“There have been at least three or four occasions where ‘independent investigation’ or ‘independent review’ is stricken” from the inspector general’s job description, the supervisor noted.
He also rejected the idea of supervisors no longer overseeing the inspector general office. “Not for a second should the board be taken out of the picture,” Nottoli said.
Jones’ plan to strip the office of the inspector general of certain powers comes after an August report by current inspector general Rick Braziel. It criticized Sacramento County deputies for firing an “excessive” and “unnecessary” number of rounds during the fatal shooting of Mikel McIntyre in May 2017.
Braziel’s report also stated that deputies put the general public “at risk” when they shot at McIntyre 18 times near Highway 50, and when they fired additional rounds in a Rancho Cordova parking lot.
Supervisor Patrick Kennedy called the sheriff’s language a “watered down” version of the board’s original plan for the inspector general. He also admitted that the job description from 2007 lacks protections to ensure the inspector general’s independence.
“We’re here because the language that’s been here since ’07 sucks,” Kennedy said.
Supervisor Sue Frost argued, however, that Jones was not upset by Braziel’s criticism, but because the report came out before the District Attorney’s Office published its findings on the McIntyre shooting.
After that report, Jones barred Braziel from access to county buildings, jails and crime scenes.
County Counsel Robyn Truitt Grivon told supervisors on Tuesday that Jones has constitutional standing to limit the inspector general’s oversight, but that this standing can be challenged.
Supervisor Phil Serna called Jones’ recommended changes “absolutely ludicrous.”
“It violates every principle of independent review and I don’t want anything to do with it,” Serna said.
A majority of community members opposed Jones’ changes.
“The recommendations that I heard, in my humble opinion, was the most asinine recommendations I’ve ever heard in my life,” NAACP Sacramento President Betty Williams said at the meeting.
She urged the counsel to investigate why the sheriff’s outreach advisory board meetings have been canceled and to mandate the use of body cameras by deputies.
The Sacramento Deputy Sheriff’s Association sided with the sheriff. “The inspector general should not be drawing any legal conclusions on a matter that has been sent to the district attorney for review. That’s where [Braziel] got himself into hot water on this last case,” said association president Kevin Mickelson.
County executive Gill promised to “wordsmith” the proposal and bring it back to the board at a later date. He also said that the proposal does not directly relate to Braziel’s employment, though he does not expect there to be any reconciliation between him and Jones.
Jones did not attend the meeting because he was at a family function, according to a sheriff’s department spokesperson.
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