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

PEN America stated: “To respond to an alleged act of police brutality with an attempt to criminalize an act of factual news reporting represents a grave abuse of authority by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.  Sheriff Villanueva’s news conference was a transparent effort to deflect blame by intimidating and threatening the journalist who dared hold him to account.  This purported investigation should be closed immediately to avoid further gross infringement on 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 open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion 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 liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.