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LAPD union chief applauds decision to bypass DA and file charges against alleged cop killers with the feds

The head of the union that represents Los Angeles police officers has applauded the Sheriff’s Department’s decision to bypass the local district attorney in favor of federal authorities after the arrest of three suspected gang members and a woman linked to the shooting death of an off-duty officer who was looking for a house with his girlfriend.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva took the case to the Justice Department in a decision deemed a repudiation in response to guidelines issued by District Attorney George Gascon.

“I think it’s a bold move,” Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, told Fox News. “I think he did it because he knew DA Gascon wasn’t going to drop any gang upgrades or gun upgrades and probably not go after those people for the death penalty.”


Los Angeles police officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was killed while house hunting with his girlfriend. Four people have been arrested in connection with the murder investigation, and federal prosecutors will pursue the case after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva bypassed the local district attorney.
(Los Angeles Police Protective League)

Since taking office in December 2020, Gascon has directed his prosecutors to seek only sentencing enhancements for certain crimes. He has taken a stand on tough-on-crime policies that his supporters say exacerbate racial and other inequalities in the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s department announced that Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29; Ernesto Cisneros, 22; Jesse Contreras, 34; and Rios’ girlfriend, Haylee Marie Grisham, 18, were arrested this week and are charged with the death of LAPD officer Fernando Arroyos. The 27-year-old off-duty officer was killed Monday in South Los Angeles during an attempted robbery while inspecting homes with his girlfriend.

Authorities said Arroyos was shot after Rios and Cisneros confronted the pair. They are charged with violent crime for the benefit of racketeering, which carries a minimum life without parole because Arroyos was killed in a robbery in which two silver chains around his neck and a wallet were taken.

LAPD union chief applauds decision to bypass DA and file charges against alleged cop killers with the feds

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon faces a second recall attempt as criticism of his progressive politics escalates.
(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shots were exchanged between Arroyos and the suspects, and Cisneros was hit, authorities said. The gang to which the three suspects are believed to belong has been the subject of federal organized crime investigations in the past.

Gascon’s office was not seized with the case and was given no opportunity to charge the suspects, said his special adviser, Alex Bastian.

“We support the federal authorities taking the case and will be in communication with all parties involved,” Bastian said in a statement. “We were told that the case had been referred to the federal authorities, who have filed a complaint. As such, we have not had the opportunity to examine the case.”

LAPD union chief applauds decision to bypass DA and file charges against alleged cop killers with the feds

Ernesto Cisneros, 22; Luis Rios, 29; Haylee Marie Grisham, 18; and Jesse Contreras, 34, are all charged with killing Los Angeles police officer Fernando Arroyos.
(US Attorney’s Office/iStock)

As crime continues to climb in and around Los Angeles, Lally predicted more serious cases would come before federal prosecutors if Gascon continues to implement guidelines that opponents say only embolden criminals.

“I think you’ll get a fairer outcome when it comes to sentencing,” Lally said.

The sheriff has been a vocal critic of Gascon, who faces a second recall effort for his prosecution reforms.

At a Thursday night news conference to announce the arrests, he disputed claims that the district attorney’s office had not been consulted.

“We’ve definitely had conversations with local ADs and their response has not been satisfactory to the severity of this situation,” Villanueva said. “They were complying with special orders from the district attorney. I believe their plan was just to prosecute simple murder and no gun upgrades, no gang upgrades, nothing and that didn’t really cover up the depravity of this crime. “

Fox News contacted him via email and text, but did not hear back.

LAPD union chief applauds decision to bypass DA and file charges against alleged cop killers with the feds

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is interviewed by Reuters in Los Angeles on June 24, 2020. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Before becoming Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor, Gascon served as a San Francisco district attorney, chief of police in Mesa, Arizona, and deputy chief of the LAPD. Lally, who has worked at the department for more than four decades, said others told him that Gascon’s time as a police officer was mostly filled with administrative duties.


“I think he’s really lost touch with what these officers are going through every day,” Lally said.

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