I Am a White Officer With the LBPD

You can call me “D” and I am a white Long Beach Police Officer assigned to South Division. I first want to say that my heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and his family, friends and community.

I just want to talk about what happened yesterday [May 31] from my perspective, what happened today and going forward.

So, yesterday I started off working crowd control in the area of Ocean and Pine. Our goal was to ensure traffic was stopped and that the crowd stayed relatively together and handle any disturbances that happen within the group (fights and fireworks is what we were looking for). This didn’t happen and the protestors remained peaceful.

At around 3:45 p.m. a call went out that two LBPD squads on Pine between Ocean and Broadway were tagged. Moments later the call reported those squads were now being vandalized further. At nearly 4 p.m. the call came out that the protest was no longer peaceful and it was an unlawful assembly and we were to start dispersal efforts. That’s when we began receiving our first looting calls at the Pike.

When the looting calls began I was transitioned to the Strike Team which was our rapid response team. We went to the Pike first to assist the officers at Forever 21.

From there we got called to an alarm at the Chase Bank at 10th and LB Boulevard. Then to a fight and looting at the pawn shops about a block north and we provided aid to a security guard who had been injured. From there we were asked to go back to the Pike because there presence was not enough to disperse the looters.

By 7 p.m. we were ordered to come in hot to every call just to show a presence and try dispersal. We were told to not make arrests because we didn’t have the time or manpower.

At around 10 p.m. we received mutual aid from L.A. County Sheriffs of about 70 deputies. We ran missions until midnight when we were given the go ahead to make arrests and stop curfew violations to determine who was who.

This is when the LBPD helicopter (Fox) and LACSO’s helicopter were used to identify the license plates of looters. By 1 a.m. we were ordered to arrest all curfew violators as well as begin documenting damage and coordinating board ups. My night ended around 4 a.m.

Today has been more looting and a lot of property crime reporting.

I want to say I’ve never had a use of force complaint made against me. I’ve been with LBPD for nearly five years and I love my job and I do love South Division. I want to be a MET unit, which is our mental health evaluation unit.

This week has really forced me to reflect on who I am and what I do. I realize that despite having a “clean record” I am still part of the problem because I know of and work alongside people that have hurt and violated even the most basic of someone’s civil rights.

This week as we were preparing for the mass deployment of this protest I reported two colleagues because I was concerned they were overly excited like a child getting hyped in a video game lobby.

The truth is I don’t know what is going to fix the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they should be protecting. I am going to try my very best to effect change from within and as I hopefully move through the ranks I will be able to reach a bigger audience and help to restore the faith that was lost.

Reddit has been so hard this week because I’ve seen what other agencies are doing wrong. I want everyone who reads this to know that I care about all of you and I will do everything within my power to protect you even if it’s from within my own department. This has been a topic of conversation at the patrol level and I hope you know that you are being heard. There are more and more of us who are realizing we are part of the problem even if we aren’t directly involved.

We are changing the way we write reports to reflect exactly what we see and we are steering away from benefit of the doubt. We are ending the warnings we give each other that our mic is “hot” (body cam), so if someone plans to lie or cover something or manipulate anything it is recorded.

We are also working with the sergeants and lieutenants to look at what happened yesterday. Why exactly the brass gave the order to use less than lethal rounds on an otherwise peaceful crowd with only a “few bad apples.” We had the technology to identify vandals in the crowd and we want to know why that wasn’t better utilized.

There is also an internal investigation as to why two marked patrol cars were left unattended on Pine in the thick of this crowd. I will say anonymously an internal rumor is they were bait but I don’t yet know of the evidence to support that.

I hope everyone can stay safe during all of this. I hope and pray we can continue this movement to bring change and that this will not be another Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, or so many, many more.

I also want to say that I have petitioned the idea within the LBPD to begin engraving the name of a victim of police violence behind every badge to help the officer know that this is where we failed.

 

Editor Note: This anonymous letter initially appeared online at Reddit, a local discussion group on June 2, and contains numerous additional comments from those posted below. Generally we do not put anonymous letters in our print edition unless there are compelling reasons to do so or when the writer requests that their name be withheld to avoid retaliation.

https://www.reddit.com/r/longbeach/comments/gv1s1s/i_am_a_white_officer_with_the_lbpd/

 

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Comments

Thank you for telling us what we all know , NOW go tell the city council and Mayor. Am sorry but am sure that you know by now that you work for a corrupt PD. I cant believe that it took something like this for cops to stop lying and falsifying reports. We all know they did just as you stated "We are changing the way we write reports to reflect exactly what we see and we are steering away from benefit of the doubt. We are ending the warnings we give each other that our mic is “hot” (body cam), so if someone plans to lie or cover something or manipulate anything it is recorded". If the PD really want change they all of you need to speak up and FIRE LUNA!!!

I'm not sure how telling this compelling story to the mayor and city council will do anything to improve LBPD's relationship with the public. There is ample evidence from multiple LBPD retaliation lawsuit settlements that doing so would most likely cause him to be ostracized and eventually fired from the department. I think he would have a greater chance of success if he contacted the California Whistleblower Protection Act or spoke with the FBI or attorney general.

Reading this opinion reminds me of Christopher Dorner, an african american man who decided when he was a teenager to become a police officer, only to be reprimanded and fired for reporting his fellow LAPD officer's misconduct. Rather than suing LAPD for retaliation, Mr. Dorner took matters into his own hands and was eventually killed.

While I admire the author's bravery for writing this opinion, I also urge him to be cautious. ONLY blue lives matter to many in LBPD.

To the police officer:

I speak truth to power as often as I can. I use my real name when I post on social media, write letters to city council and speak at the podium. I don’t own a gun or a bullet proof vest for protection.

But I have principles, that was enough for my late father when he nearly gave his life in defense of his. I’ve placed myself in similar situations, faced loaded guns (of your colleagues), but this is nothing extraordinary or unique; this is what every Black person faces on a routine basis.

My brothers and I learned from our courageous father and live accordingly. That’s how we raised our children and they are following our footsteps. It’s called leading by example.

If you stand by your words, stand up in public, at city hall, and denounce your bad-apple colleagues and the system that pervades your department. It’s going to take courage, do you have what it takes to give hope and to set an example to those that look up to you?

I agree with you, but how many police officers who have spoken out against corruption have been fired for specking out. LBPD has a history of working with the city to discredit these whistleblowers and fire them. How much money have us tax payers paid out because of police corruption? and nothing has happen to the people responsible for these large payouts. Instead of holding people accountable they cover for them. About a year ago we tax payers paid 2.5 million to one officer who reported misconduct by LUNA and his administration. What happen to these dirty cops "noting". Where is the whistleblower cop at? gone from the PD? yes. instead of keeping and officer who speaks up the city and Luna keep the dirty cops. Things will not change if we don't fire Luna and his boys, including this incompetent mayor. How many more whistleblower lawsuit are still pending now?.. Beachcomber can you find out for us?

Whistle Blowers cannot be fired. You are incorrect: https://cops.usdoj.gov/whistleblower-protection#:~:text=The%20Whistleblo....

What a joke of a statement, LOL, haha. The sad thing is that am sure you seriously believe that LBPD never fires whistleblowers. It's people like you that give corrupt cops the willingness to violate the law. Let me take a guess genius, when something is illegal that stops people from doing it!! LBPD is a criminal organization they do this all the time and we tax payers have to pay out with no PD accountability. If LBPD retaliation does not exist how the F do you explain the millions of dollars we tax payer pay for LBPD misconduct every year? The leaders of the LBPD are the offenders/ criminals who retaliate against whistleblowers and use the office of the city attorney to help them hide all the violations of law. This city/LBPD should be investigated by the DOJ for being a criminal organization.

Simple, past consent decrees have changed the law so officers no have immunity, but "qualified immunity" which opened the door for ambulance chasing lawyers and convicted criminals to game the system at tax payer's expense. No Justice, No Peace is BS, it should be No Trust, No Peace. Only way to solve this is to build trust into the system, lawsuits don't do that, in fact, they do just the opposite. Remove all immunity and corruption will increase, crime will increase, and the rule of law, which our freedoms depend on, will die on the vine.

Technically your claim may be correct. While it may be against the law to fire a whistle blower, that has not prevented the Long Beach Police Department from doing exactly that. I can provide links to many, many judgments against Long Beach for terminating whistle blowers. Just because there is a law against it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

I don't doubt that, but we should all roll the rhetoric back and look at how we go here. People use the phrase "No Justice, No Peace", but it should be, "No Trust, No Peace". Mutual trust does not exist it's broken; but how? Both police management and union officer are under siege by ambulance chasing lawyers and criminals who game the system at tax payer's expense. The system of "qualified immunity" has set us up for a more adversarial relationship, and The Thin Blue Line has been put into an almost indefensible position. I would not want to be an officer under the current system, Would you?

The current LBPD administration is responsible for a-lot of the corruption and they are back-up by the city attorneys office which instead of holding the current administration responsible they find ways to help them continue the misconducted. You keep blaming the lawyers and other but not a word against the officers and the administration that commit the misconduct. How many officer or staff had been held responsible after they loose tax payer money, "0". Do you agree we should fire those responsible? if so lets start now with this corrupt PD chief Luna.

How will we ever get real change unless police change their own culture? And, that will require them to do so publicly and using their own names. Will some of them get fired? Yes, undoubtedly so. But, there are worse things in life than being fired. Being complicit in violating the rights of others is one of them.

I don't know whether the author is actually a police officer or not. I would say from the some of the writing, he at least has either been an officer in the past or is connected to law enforcement well enough to know operations reasonably well.

But, read the comments. The anonymity has certainly done one thing. It has introduced doubt. And that doubt has significantly blunted his message. Painful as it may be, good cops need to take public action to clean up their departments.

Thank you officer. If only one mans stands up and tells the truth, the ring of righteousness is heard. We have strayed away from our roots, Community engagement and policing. I understand what courage it took for you to say what you have said. LBPD is now a culture of cover-up and deceit. Standing up against that takes extraordinary bravery, and you have shown that. I know that most of our officers, when they first became police, were idealistic, optimistic and excited to serve the people. But when you are driving along with an "old guard" who acts, behaves and responds without honor and without moral courage, you wince and inch by inch your idealism erodes. Chain of command means you cannot speak up, because others have done so, and were fired, or harassed by the rest of the battalion. So you wait, and watch, and become morose, until finally after about a year of service, you decide to make the transfer to another police department. This is how we lose officers. We don't lose them in the middle of their careers because we don't pay enough. We lose good men and women, because they cannot bear the stench of corruption here in Long Beach. Thank you Officer for being brave and telling your story. I agree with you. Our Police Chief Luna must go. He is either directing this miscarriage of justice or is too weak to fight against the POA, which I believe is the root of our problems here.

The POA's power comes from the union contract approved by Long Beach City Councilpersons. If anyone, blame the Council for agreeing to such a one-sided union contract.

Every election, council candidates agree to secret agreements to get the POA union's influential endorsement. The POA then campaigns door-to-door in their police and fire department uniforms and donates significant funds for their indebted council candidate. This happens every election. You know this because you are running for election.

The only way to combat the political influence of the POA is to entirely eliminate the LBPD and have the City of Long Beach contract its police services with the sheriff's department like many other cities. Good luck with that.

Thank you for stepping up! I hope your courage spreads thru the rank and file of your fellow officers!

I would love to have lunch with the officer who wrote the article. I have experience LBPD acting as a gang. I once lived in an area where it was normal to be afraid of the gangs and the police. It's been almost 15yrs and some of those bad police officers are now locked up.

We really need to start taking the mental health of our first responders very seriously. I don't know what systems are in place but when an officer starts to become jaded; intervention needs to be made.
PTSD is real and needs to be screened on a regular basis.

We also have to stop creating laws that allow the criminals to win. I read a FB post last week by an officer in a nearby community who had witnessed a man that had been arrested and released 3x in one day. Dog catchers have a better retention rate.

If we want better police officers in the future; we need to start pouring into them today. We all need to work together to change how the badge is portrayed and worn. We need to raise up young people who want to join the force and make a change. The truth is I am worried about the officers of today and tomorrow. I hope that we can all bond together and find solutions soon.

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