West Hollywood City Council hires convicted felon for security after defunding police

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva recently voiced concerns about the operations manager of a security company who was hired to take over law enforcement responsibilities from sworn officers in West Hollywood, California. The manager of Block by Block security had previously been charged with murder and armed robbery in Georgia.

While West Hollywood is just 1.9 square miles, it has one of the worst crime rates in the country, with 1 out of every 174 residents becoming a victim of crime. According to Neighborhood Scout, it has an index of 8, making it safer than just 8% of American communities. However, the West Hollywood City Council decided last month to swap out four sheriff’s deputies for a group of blue shirt community ambassadors from Block by Block who will attempt to patrol the city.

Block By Block, claims to offer “highly visible … ambassadors [who] will not only provide a sense of security, but will also serve as the welcoming presence that will set your public space apart.” The West Hollywood news website WEHOville observed the ambassadors for a day and documented their behavior with pictures, noting that they sat behind kiosks and checked their phones. Councilwoman Sepi Shyne defended the move, saying, “We took action to redistribute our public safety funds in a way that makes sense for our community’s needs and, in fact, adds over 26 new positions to our reimagined public safety team, plus full supplemental reserve funding for LASD.” 

Villanueva was incensed by the changes, considering that the company employs a man who was convicted of manslaughter. Villanueva has been outspoken about Los Angeles officials who choose a “woke” agenda over safety. The Block by Block operations manager, who has been with the company since 2013, was found guilty of murder and armed robbery in Georgia in 1995, along with a related narcotics conviction. According to court documents, the allegation was reduced to manslaughter and the defendant was permitted to serve out his term in California. 

Villanueva stated, “The City Council says they are enhancing public safety because they are replacing four deputies with 30 unarmed ambassadors. The city knew about his criminal history because they received an email about it. He committed murder and plea bargained to manslaughter and did eight years.” He added that the city council is so anti-law enforcement “they don’t bother vetting who they replace cops with, so they settled on a convicted murderer.”

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