D.A. Confirms Beachcomber Allegations of Cover-up by LBPD

Stephen Downing

On June 7, 2017 the Beachcomber broke a story that exposed the Long Beach Police Department’s (LBPD) questionable handling, release and special treatment of Councilperson Jeannine Pearce, 36, and her former chief of staff, Devin Cotter, 36.   The incident followed a June 3, 2:40 a.m. notification from the CHP that the pair was in a vehicle parked north of the Golden Shore Exit on the 710 freeway where Pearce was identified as both a suspected DUI driver and perpetrator of felony domestic violence upon Cotter.

The LBPD has since done flip-flops to cover up their “VIP special handling” of the incident starting with vague and unsupported press releases as well as refusals to release documents and photographs associated with the incident that supported the allegations of improper orders from LBPD brass imposed upon police officers on-scene. 

The Beachcomber reported that the officers assigned the call were directed by LBPD brass to “adjust the arrest procedures” that are routinely administered to every other person in Long Beach who does not enjoy the corrupted perks offered those who hold high positions in city hall.

The LBPD denied that special handling was provided to the councilwoman but did acknowledge that they have a “notification procedure” required when a member of council comes to police attention.

The LBPD manual provides that the notification, in the case of a council person,” go from the officers on the scene to a sergeant supervisor, the watch commander, the duty chief, the chief of police, the city manager and finally, his honor, the mayor. 

That “chat-up-the-chain” clearly resulted in Mayor Garcia’s new favorite councilperson – the one who engineered his back-room reversal of the people’s Campaign Reform Act (CRA) – to escape arrest and booking that night.

The Beachcomber reported that after Pearce and Cotter were discovered by the CHP, the first LBPD unit arrived at 02:47 a.m., but yet the LBPD did not administer a field sobriety test (FST), according to the DA’s charge sheet until “4 in the morning” and at that time the FST was, “consistent with mild impairment from alcohol” and that “at 04:20 a.m. , she blew a .06 into a PAS machine.”

The DA went on to spell out the fact that the “Officers did not obtain a second PAS sample” and that “Suspect Pearce was never taken from the scene to the station for additional testing.”

The details of the D.A’s explanation amounts to code for, “the LBPD did not handle the investigation in a manner consistent with established procedure – as applied to the average citizen - and therefore we don’t have enough evidence to prosecute the councilwoman.” 

We call it “engineered VIP treatment.”

A prosecutor knows proper police procedure for the investigation of a DUI.  Protocol demands the FST and PAS (field breath instrument) be administered in the first 20 minutes when a driver is suspected of DUI.  They also know that the PAS should be administered twice if not consistent with the FST and that a .06 reading demands a trip to the station for testing on a highly calibrated breath machine. 

The D.A. clearly expressed the fact that none of that happened – and also pointed out that that the PAS was defective – and useless as evidence – because the LBPD allowed it to remain in service in spite of a crime lab specialist ordering that it be removed from service a month earlier.  (That too was a convenient coincidence).

What the prosecutor did not explain is what Pearce’s blood alcohol level would have been had she been tested in the first 20 minutes after the arrival of the LBPD.

In an earlier column the Beachcomber reported that, according to Nick Morrow, a retired Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff and court appointed DUI expert: “Alcohol has a predictable and generally accepted “burn-off” rate. Research shows a .012-.015 percent per hour burn-off as common. If the PAS test were administered within 20 minutes of the stop (accepted police procedure) then a reading of 0.06 percent would not be sufficient cause to arrest for DUI, absent other objective symptoms. However, if it were administered more than two hours after the officer began the investigation, Pearce’s blood alcohol level would have been between 0.084 percent and 0.09 percent – both over the legal limit of .08.”

What the Beachcomber did not know at that time – according to the DA’s charge sheet – is that, “Suspect Pearce took multiple videos when she stopped on the side of the freeway. The first was time stamped at 01:27 a.m., “ a full hour prior to the arrival of the LBPD.

Applying the burn-off rate to another full hour means that when Pearce first pulled to the side of the road and began videotaping her dispute with Cotter, her blood alcohol level was between a staggering 0.96 and 0.105.

When asked about the DUI testing time frame and VIP treatment during an interview on the KLBC.Org Luca & Cammie show three days ago (Oct. 23) Pearce lied saying, “As soon as the officers got there I had to walk the line.” She also boasted at length about her integrity in office and her consistent practice of delivering honorable governance to the people of Long Beach.

The D.A.’s rational for not charging Pearce for felony domestic violence also made a great deal of sense. The evidence handed the prosecutor after the LBPD’s follow up investigation amounted to the confusing claims and counter-claims of two squabbling drunks who couldn’t keep their stories straight, in spite of the fact that Cotter ended up with what the D.A. described as “what many witnesses, including the CHP officers and LBPD officers, saw with swelling, redness, and a laceration to his head and cuts to his hands.”

But that was a prosecutor’s decision not to charge and had nothing to do with application of LBPD arrest policy in domestic violence cases when there is injury – and often when there is no injury.

Pearce should have been arrested and booked that evening for felony domestic violence and subjected to the same harsh bail, court appearance, restraining orders and separation from family that every other resident of Long Beach is exposed to when involved in an alleged case of domestic violence. 

Hopefully the councilwoman’s stated practice of “good governance” will bring about a change to the ignorant and harmfully abusive “zero tolerance” LBPD domestic abuse arrest policy so that city hall perks can be extended to the rest of us.

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.




Clear evidence of the corruption in the highest levels of Long Beach governance. Led by none other than Robert Garcia and his deputies: Jeannine Pearce, Devin Cotter, and Christian Kropff. We need to wipe the slate clean with the coming election. Eliminate the incumbents - starting with that political neophyte, Stacy Mungo. Long Beach will be better served with one less hysteric in the chambers. If we can't vote out Pearce at the moment, let's not lose our opportunity with Must-Go Mungo.

Jeannine Pearce Lie Exposed on the Luc & Cammie Show Jeannine Pearce interview.

Listen here at minute 33:25:

Luc & Cammie Show “I think the VIP Treatment, I don’t think you know but they were saying that they waited like an hour and a half”

Jeannine Pearce “I didn’t have any water. As soon as our Long Beach PD got there, I had to walk the line. I had to do the nose thing.”

Luc & Cammie Show “So you didn’t wait an hour and a half? No”

Jeannine Pearce “No, and that was the day that I said I wish that we did have police cameras and I said it publicly"

LA District Attorney Memo: “it is clear that suspect Pearce drove between midnight and 0127hrs on 6/3/17. LBPD Officers smelled alcohol on suspect Pearce. Suspect Pearce admits to drinking at the concert. At 0420hrs, she blew a .06 into a PAS machine. “

Time of Driving 1:27am
Time of Field Sobriety Test 4:20am (3 Hours and 3 Minutes Later)

Recall Pearce

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