Luna Ignores Mask Mandate – Again

By: 
Stephen Downing
Chief of Police Robert Luna testifies unmasked behind his boss, City Manager Tom Modica during a Long Beach City Council meeting on July 20.

On Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m. the City of Long Beach – and Los Angeles County Health Departments – instituted a new indoor mask mandate for everyone, including those who are vaccinated, due to the rising infection rates of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, July 20 Long Beach Chief of Police Robert Luna demonstrated once again that he is tone deaf to the necessity, legal requirements and leadership responsibilities surrounding mask mandates in a manner comparable to the sense of impunity he exhibited on Nov. 5, 2020 – at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic – when he ordered over 300 mask less police officers to gather for a photo op inside the Long Beach Convention Center.

An Early Warning

Shortly after the council meeting began the chair of the City American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) Committee testified without a mask. Immediately following her testimony, the city clerk announced that, “I would like to gently remind everybody that masks are required at all times.”

Over the next 3-plus hours dozens of citizens, the mayor, members of the city council, the city manager and city staff spoke – all wearing their masks.

Then Luna was called to testify. He stood, removed his mask and took a seat at the desk behind his boss, City Manager Tom Modica.

A review of the council meeting video tape documented that Luna testified without a mask in front of the Long Beach City Council, the vice-mayor, the city manager, city staff and members of the public – all masked - for a full 20 minutes before he was reminded of the mandate and told to put on his mask.

Following the meeting the Beachcomber emailed a picture of the maskless chief of police to the city manager and wrote: “The Beachcomber would appreciate comment from the city manager as to the circumstances surrounding the violation and what, if any, action is contemplated in response to the chief’s apparent demonstration of impunity toward the mask mandate.”

Within hours the city manager responded: “Chief Luna was not present in the chamber when the previous announcement by the clerk was made. However, Chief Luna wore a mask the entire time in the chambers except when taking it off to speak. He was informed during his testimony by the city clerk of the requirement to have it on even when testifying, and immediately put the mask back on for the remainder of his testimony.

“This was our first meeting back with the new masking rules in the chamber. I will be reminding all department directors today of the requirements going forward and my expectations that we wear masks the entire time even when testifying.”

Franklin Sims, a reporter for The Memo and Long Beach Local News – who was present for the entire 4-plus hour council meeting – told the Beachcomber that when Luna took off his mask and began his testimony that he (Franklin) approached the city clerk when he saw that no one else in the room took any action.

Sim’s said, “Out of concern for the reputation of the department given the recent controversies I discreetly let the city clerk know.”

Sims said a minute later he saw the city clerk get up from her desk and then observed Luna look at his cell phone. Sim’s said, “That’s when he put his mask on.”

Sims told the Beachcomber that he was highly concerned that no one on the council dais, the vice-mayor or the city manager, chose to take responsibility and immediately remind the chief of his duty to wear a mask.

The Beachcomber asked the LBPD for comment from Chief Luna writing: “The Beachcomber would appreciate comment from the chief as to the circumstances surrounding the violation and what, if any, statement he would like to make to the rank and file and the public in response to the apparent demonstration of impunity toward the mask mandate. “

Neither Luna nor his spokesperson responded.

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police. stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com

 

Category:

Comments

Someone thinks they are above the law. Thats what happens when corrupt people are not held accountable, they feel empowered to do what they want. I guess he forgot or don't care about the CCPC sustained charges against him for the super spreader event. SMH

Add new comment

Beachcomber

Copyright 2021 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.