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In a letter to “the Honorable Board of Supervisors”, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva explained in great length his decision to pull out his department from a deal with ‘Fulgent Genetics Corporation’, which was initially hired to regularly test LA County Sheriffs.
Sheriff Villanueva claims he had attended an FBI briefing on November 24 and was advised by federal agents that Fulgent “had strong ties with BGI, WuXi, and Huawei Technology, all of which are linked to the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences” and that they are under the control of the PRC—the Peoples Republic of China. This FBI briefing was also extended to each of the board members and the head of the Department of Public Health. It remains unknown, however, whether they attended this briefing.
Villanueva says he was shocked to learn that Fulgent “made no attempt to disguise the fact they will use the genetic information obtained in future studies.” This, of course, brings serious concerns as to the testing results and privacy of each Sheriff.
The Sheriff also highlighted his concerns about the genetics database of his Sheriffs, citing a New York Times article that warned about the Chinese communist government’s efforts to gather DNA data of American citizens.
How this was overseen before the city struck the no-bid contract with Fulgent remains in question.
In an October 18 report, Law Enforcement Today stated that they had learned LA County was mandating their employees to register their vaccination status back in August, through Fulgent Genetics, to get city workers—including Sheriffs—fully vaccinated and within compliance of citywide mandates. But as thousands of city workers, including LAPD, Sheriffs and Firefighters opposed the mandate, the Sheriff decided against mandating vaccines in his department. “I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5%, 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate.” The Sheriff has kept a strong stance on behalf of his Sheriffs.
Sheriff Villanueva closed the letter by saying the department will no longer be using Fulgent, and they will be continuing with their own proprietary registration system.
El American has reached out to the board of supervisors for comment on the apparent negligence over the privacy of city workers and what steps will be taken to protect the city’s first responders.
Anthony Cabassa is a Field Correspondent with El American. Before that he did Independent Journalism for 3+ years informing the Hispanic/Latino community with bilingual news updates and video podcasts. He is also a U.S. Veteran of over 10 years in the Coast Guard. He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and 3 children // Anthony Cabassa es Corresponsal de Campo de El American. Antes hizo periodismo independiente durante más de 3 años informando a la comunidad hispana con información bilingüe y pódcasts. También es un veterano de más de 10 años en el Ejército Americano. Vive en Los Ángeles, California, con su esposa y sus tres hijos.