The city manager of Lynwood, California came under fire on Sunday for apparently blaming the cause of shooting of two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies by a black man on "deputy gangs." In his social media post, Jose Ometeotl said that while he did not condone the shooting, the violence against the deputies was "expected in the society we live in today."
Ometeotl posted his comments on Instagram with a meme that said: "Chickens come to roost." In his lengthy post, the city manager said Compton was marred by "deputy gangs" who instilled fear in the community by murdering, framing and stealing from them "just because they could."
By "deputy gangs," Ometeotl appeared to refer to 'the Executioners,' a gang of deputies reportedly at the Compton station of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. A July report by the Los Angeles Times stated that LASD deputy Austreberto Gonzalez filed a claim saying about 20 deputies at the Compton station were part of the clique that set illegal arrest quotas.
Gonzalez reportedly claimed the members of the clique sported tattoos with Nazi imagery and an AK-47, mainly worked at night and communicated through WhatsApp. The claim also stated that no black or female deputies were allowed to join the gang.
"Members become inked as 'Executioners' after executing members of the public, or otherwise committing acts of violence in furtherance of the gang," the deputy said in the claim at the time. The report prompted Sheriff Alex Villanueva to issue a statement saying there were no cliques at any stations of the LASD.
In August, Compton Mayor Aja Brown sought a state and federal investigation into the Compton station. "They terrorize the community, and then they cover their tracks. It is unacceptable. We will not take this. I'm calling for Attorney General Javier Becerra to stand up for the Black and brown people of Compton," Brown said at the time.
On Sunday, Ometeotl's post blamed the sheriff and the political climate for sowing seeds of anger and frustration in the community. "I pray for the deputies and their families while still demanding justice for Andres Guardado, Breona Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery," he said.
Fox 11 reporter Bill Melugin was the first to bring Ometeotl's comments to the public attention by posting its screenshots on his Twitter account. The Lynwood city manager's comments were met with outrage following which he set his Instagram account to private.
The City of Lynwood issued a statement distancing itself from Ometeotl's comments. "There have been comments made today (Sunday) by our City Manager on his personal social media that are his personal opinions and don't reflect the position of the Lynwood City Council," the statement read.
Meanwhile, LASD authorities launched a manhunt for the man who shot the two deputies — a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man — during an ambush in Compton. The LASD released a video clip of the shooting and set a bounty of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.