Villanueva backs off investigation of Times reporter who revealed cover-up

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday that his department was targeting a Times journalist in a criminal leak investigation for her reporting on a departmental cover-up, but after a barrage of criticism from politicians, the newspaper and press freedom groups, he backed off his announcement and denied that he considered the reporter a suspect.

The sheriff lashed out at Times staff writer Alene Tchekmedyian during a morning news conference in which he suggested two longtime foes leaked her a surveillance video showing a deputy kneeling on the head of a handcuffed inmate.

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