Did Councilperson Get LBPD VIP Treatment?

By: 
Stephen Downing
Devin Cotter and Jeannine Pearce

On June 7 the Beachcomber broke an online 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. This followed a June 3, 2:40 a.m. notification from the CHP that the pair were 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 perpatrator of domestic violence upon Cotter.

As a result of that exposure, the LBPD issued a statement validating selected elements of the story but defended the department’s release of Pearce stating that the councilwoman successfully completed a field sobriety test and was taken home by a friend, while Cotter, who was also the subject of an outstanding $50,000 arrest warrant, was driven home by officers, but then arrested hours later for public intoxication and the $50,000 warrant when he was observed in Pearce’s neighborhood.

In reply to the LBPD’s vague response the Beachcomber submitted a list of 20 questions surrounding the obvious omissions and evasions in their report. On June 7, at 8:30 p.m. LBPD Chief Robert Luna responded to those questions stating – in part – that, “due to the ongoing criminal investigation, additional details of the case and related circumstances are not being released at this time.”

Finding the Chief’s vague and evasive response a non-response (which can be viewed in full online) and one that rings hollow when it comes maintaining the public trust, the Beachcomber responded and – among many other concerns – posed the following questions to the chief:

  • In that the LBPD has already announced that there was no finding of DUI or domestic violence at the scene, what investigation is continuing and what is the crime that is being investigated?
  • If the LBPD could not find sufficient cause at the scene, where Cotter complained of being attacked by Pearce and had visible injuries to prove it – and an arrest was not made – to what purpose and to what end does the so-called “continuing investigation” serve?

The Beachcomber has also uncovered additional information relative to the $50,000 DUI warrant that was not served upon Pearce’s former chief of staff when the LBPD brass instead ordered their police officers to drive Cotter home from the scene of the first incident.

As a result of that discovery we asked the executive director of the Community Police Complaint Commission (CPCC) to add the following element of apparent corruption to the investigation the Beachcomber had earlier asked the CPCC to initiate into this matter.

The following is the content of that request and associated comment:

“Public records indicate that the $50,000 DUI warrant issued by the Long Beach court for the arrest of Devin Thomas Cotter was issued in March 2016. Between March 2016 and February 2017, records at Transparent California indicate that Cotter was employed by the City of Long Beach, assigned to the mayor’s office and later to the chief of staff position with Ms. Pearce.

“This begs the question – in addition to queries surrounding why Cotter was not arrested at the Hwy 710 scene for the outstanding warrant – why was the $50,000 arrest warrant not enforced by the LBPD when it was first issued in March 2016?

“Cotter worked for the city for nine months while a $50,000 warrant was outstanding and in file for his arrest. This too smacks of “special handling” of a city employee (appointee) assigned to political offices.

“The public is entitled to an explanation why this was allowed to occur – and why the warrant was not served until such time that it aided the purposes of another case of “special VIP handling.” Please add this apparent systemic misconduct to the CPCC investigation.”

A public records request has been filed with the city for all LBPD documents related to this incident. Updates to this story will follow online at www.beachcomber.news as additional information is developed.

stephen@beachcomber.news

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Comments

Job well done! Is does not surprise me in the slightest!

Why Did Mayor Robert Garcia allow Devin Cotter to work for him if he had a DUI and then why did the Councilperson Jeannine Pearce hire Devin Cotter if he had a DUI.

Has the Mayor's office responded to this article or is he too worried about his reelection campaign?

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