Community groups complain California police department violated coronavirus orders
Long Beach, Calif., community groups filed complaints against a police agency after photos revealed a crowd of maskless officers in a large indoor warehouse standing adjacent to one another.
The groups, the People of Long Beach and Long Beach Reform Coalition, filed complaints with the Citizen Police Complaint Commission Monday, a local NBC affiliate KNBC reported.
“Not only was the assembly a violation of Health Department mandates but also a direct contradiction and demonstration of impunity that countered Mayor Robert Garcia’s pleas for all persons, including city employees to practice social distancing and wear masks,” the groups’ complaints alleged.
The photo was taken on Nov. 5, and the Long Beach Police Department had been training inside the Long Beach Convention Center for potential election unrest following the 2020 presidential election.
One image showed the group of nearly 300 police personnel gathered wearing masks, but a second angle shot showed a line of officers standing close together without face coverings.
— Long Beach Police Historical Society (@LBPD_History) December 9, 2020
The maskless photo was posted to the local Long Beach Post news site and began raising some concerns about a potential coronavirus “superspreader” event.
Photo shows dozens of officers without masks 2 weeks before LBPD cracks down on COVID-19 rules https://t.co/VV4Q7ZKMVU
— Long Beach Post (@LongBeachPost) December 10, 2020
The community organizations are requesting the police complaint commission initiate a full-scale probe into personnel and documents related to the training exercise “to prevent the LBPD or the city administration from covering up yet another wholesale violation of the public trust,” an emailed letter said, signed by Carlos Ovalle, executive director of the community group People of Long Beach.
Long Beach police spokeswoman Allison Gallagher sent a statement to NBC regarding the allegations of a supposed superspreader event, saying it was important for personnel to “attend the training event to address our officers and recognize and thank them for their time, dedication, and sacrifice during this election period.”
Gallagher recognized the evidence of photos showing officers gathering without masks, noting, “We have also verified no positive Covid-19 cases have been attributed to this specific training day.”
The Hill reached out to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s (D) office but did not immediately receive a response.
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