PEN America: Los Angeles Sheriff’s criminal investigation of LA Times reporter for factual reporting is ‘serious abuse of authority’


(New York) – PEN America issued a statement in response to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s announcement that his department is targeting Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian in a criminal leak investigation for her reporting on the concealment of an incident by the ministry in which a deputy knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate for three minutes.

PEN America said, “Responding to an alleged act of police brutality by attempting to criminalize an act of factual reporting represents a serious abuse of authority by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Villanueva’s press conference was a transparent effort to deflect blame by intimidating and threatening the reporter who dared to hold him to account. This so-called investigation should be closed immediately to avoid further gross violations of press freedom rights and the public’s right to know.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and around the world. We defend the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the freedoms that make it possible. Learn more at


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