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Morning Briefing: ‘Private’ Comments Have High-Ranking Sheriff’s Official Under Investigation

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A protest on July 11 at the Compton Civic Center regarding the fatal shooting of Andrés Guardado by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy. (Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
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According to an autopsy released by the L.A. County coroner’s office, 18-year-old Andrés Guardado was killed by a Sheriff’s deputy who shot him five times in the back. L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s chief of staff, Capt. John Burcher, wrote on Facebook that Guardado, who deputies have alleged was armed, “chose his fate.”

That post was uncovered by our friends at ABC7 news, and was part of a string of comments that Burcher made in response to a news article on Guardado. Burcher also said, “Why so much coverage over Guardado?” and called another commenter an “idiot” and a “moron.”

As of now, Burcher’s social media posts are under an “administrative investigation” and he has been reassigned to the agency’s East Patrol Division. Speaking to ABC7, Villanueva said that Burcher “remains as captain,” and seemed to defend Burcher’s actions.

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“He made the comments as a private person,” said Villanueva, “not as a public official.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, July 16

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City boosters sold Southern California as an outdoor paradise, waiting to be explored. That enthusiasm for the outdoors led to the "great hiking era," reports Hadley Meares, which ran from roughly the 1880s to the 1930s.

L.A. County's Office of Education has issued new guidelines for reopening Head Start that can be applied to any early learning setting, reports Mariana Dale. The agency oversees care for 11,000 kids through its Head Start programs and its facilities will remain closed through the end of July, but "after that, it will vary by delegate agency and site depending on community needs."

Many stories go untold, and even more go unheard. As the nation reckons with systemic racism, our community-centered storytelling show Unheard LA is taking a deeper listen. Join us live at 6 p.m. to hear that conversation.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Policing The Police: “Inexcusable.” That’s what the attorney for Andrés Guardado’s family called Facebook posts by Capt. John Burcher, who until this week was the chief of staff to the sheriff. Attorney Adam Shea said in a statement that the comments “further confirm why an independent investigation [into Guardado’s killing] is necessary."

Coronavirus Updates: For the second day in a row, L.A. County has reported its highest rate of hospitalizations since the coronavirus pandemic began. The Rose Parade, an annual Pasadena tradition, will not happen on January 1, 2021, due to the pandemic. A federal medical team will assist at Eisenhower Health Hospital in Rancho Mirage.

#Pride: After 40 years in West Hollywood, LA Pride plans to find a new home.

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Homelessness: L.A. City and County presented updates to a federal court this week explaining how they’re going to move 6,700 homeless people away from freeways. It’s complicated.

The Sequel: Breaking with other talent agencies, United Talent Agency has reached a deal with the Writers Guild.


Photo Of The Day

This chilled out bear was spotted this week in the backyard of a Monrovia home. The picture was captured by Michael Hayford, whose daughter Kristen Hayford works with the LAist Studios podcast team.

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(Courtesy of Michael Hayford)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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