LBPD Makes Only One Pyro Arrest Citywide on July 4th

By: 
Bill Pearl

Despite social network dispatches indicating increased July 4 mortar launched pyrotechnic rockets and ground based M-80 explosives (individual use banned statewide) in parts of ELB from east of Traffic Circle to the eastern city limit, LBPD made only one July 4 fireworks related arrest citywide, a felony.

On July 7, the city issued a release, titled “Fourth of July Weekend Public Safety Statistics” that fails to mention the solitary fireworks related arrest. This writer spotted the omission by checking LBPD’s daily booking log. It indicates that most of LBPD’s other 22 July 4 arrests were for domestic violence felonies and other offenses.

LBPD made no July 4th fireworks related misdemeanor arrests. And it issued no July 4th fireworks related citations (tickets.).

LBPD’s booking log shows that on July 4 it made 15 non-fireworks related arrests for various felonies (or a felony + combined misdemeanors). It made 7 non-fireworks related misdemeanor arrests. It issued 15 non-fireworks related citations (tickets).

On July 4th, LBPD responded to at least two shootings in which it made one arrest.

The sole July 4th fireworks related arrest involved a 27 year old Compton woman, arrested in the 500 block of Esther St. (one block south of PCH between Long Beach Blvd. and Atlantic Ave.), booked on suspicion of violating CA Penal Code section 69, a felony, which makes it a crime to attempt “by means of any threat or violence, to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing any duty imposed upon the officer by law, or who knowingly resists, by the use of force or violence, the officer, in the performance of his or her duty.”

It’s a more serious charge than the crime of resisting arrest (CA Penal Code 148) because CPC 69 involves the alleged use of threats of violence and applies to more executive duties than just making an arrest. LBPD also booked the arrestee on suspicion of violating LB Municipal Code section 18.48.720, a misdemeanor, making it “unlawful for any person to possess, store, offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks...” 

The city release stated that on July 4, 15 fireworks-related citations (tickets) were written, but at our request, LBPD double-checked this and an LBPD PIO subsequently acknowledged that LBPD issued no fireworks related citations.

The release acknowledged that the city prosecutor’s office (which handles misdemeanors and at trial must meet the high criminal law burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt) says fewer than 5% of complaints submitted this year using its online fireworks reporting “portal” provided sufficient detail to be actively investigated for prosecution. 

Under a newly enacted City Council ordinance, the city prosecutor’s office says some of the nearly 300 portal reports “may be considered” for potential civil fines if criminal prosecution isn’t possible. (The new ordinance targets property owners who allegedly allow scofflaws to ignite fireworks on their property.)  

LBPD’s release indicates that during the July 4th 24 hour period, the city’s Dispatch Center handled 511 fireworks-related calls and during July 4 peak time (8:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m.) received 301 calls to its 9-1-1 and the non-emergency line, an average of seven calls per minute.

The 511 fireworks related calls were part of 3,852 total calls to the city’s 9-1-1 plus non-emergency line. The 3,852 calls produced 1,261 calls-for-service (although it’s not immediately clear how many calls for service were fireworks-related.)

Past and present actions by the Long Beach City Council have left LB taxpayers with a thinner per capita police level than L.A., Santa Monica and Signal Hill. LBPD’s command staff has tried to deal with this by using overtime (recently to respond to increased shootings) but on days like July 4th that arguably doesn’t suffice.

A previous City Council (under Mayor Bob Foster) erased roughly 200 officers -- 20% of LB’s previous police level -- in budgets between 2009 and 2014. These are officers that LB taxpayers previously had but no longer have despite Long Beach voter approval of the 2016 Measure A (“blank check”) sales tax increase.

In budgets between 2017 and 2020, the Council restored 22 of the erased roughly 200 officers, but in Sept. 2020 wiped that out by defunding 48 officers in the city’s FY21 budget (9-0 vote with Pearce prior to Allen/CD 2 and Andrews prior to Saro/CD 6.)

Bill Pearl is the publisher of lbreport.com, an online, local news source since August 2000.

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Comments

One of the bigger issues here is why did the LBPD lie about the citations " The city release stated that on July, 15 fireworks-related citations (tickets) were written, but at our request, LBPD double-checked this and an LBPD PIO subsequently acknowledged that LBPD issued no fireworks related citations." again and agin the LBPD lies and nothing happens and no one is held accountable. SMH only in LBC does this happen.

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