Photo of Long Beach officer standing over blood with his baton spurs internal investigation
The Long Beach Police Department has launched an internal investigation after an officer shared photos on his social media, including one showing him standing over blood with his baton, this week amid days of protests held in the city against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
According to an email sent Thursday by City Manager Tom Modica, the department became aware of a “social media post an officer had on his Facebook page” that included “a baton and blood on the ground.”
The officer, who was not identified in the document, has been removed from patrol duties pending an internal investigation, according to the letter.
The officer has been identified by BuzzFeed News and in a public social media post by Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce as Jacob Delgado. Pearce posted an image from Delgado’s LinkedIn page that shows he has been a member of the Long Beach Police Department for about two years and previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Another photo, obtained by BuzzFeed News, that Delgado shared on his Instagram account shows him sitting in what appears to be a police car with two other officers flashing the shaka sign. “Back up, on the way,” he wrote on the image.
Delgado’s sibling, according to BuzzFeed News, also shared the photo of his brother standing over blood on his personal Instagram account, writing “Bro getting his.”
Delgado and his sibling have since deleted their social media accounts.
“And just like that, they show us who they are. I am pissed. I am heartbroken and I will not settle for this. Clearly, our city has failed you,” Pearce wrote on Facebook.
Pearce said in a statement that the incident was a clear example why the city needs to overhaul its policing model and encouraged people to share photos and videos of actions taken by any of their city employees.
Ivan Garcia, a Police Department public information officer, said disciplinary action will be taken, if necessary, after the investigation is completed. The department’s social media policy requires officers to use appropriate discretion when posting photographs or speech that may jeopardize investigations or discredit the department, he added.
“The images depicted here are very disturbing and are not in line with the high standards we hold our officers accountable for,” Police Chief Robert Luna said in a statement. “We will continue to work on rebuilding our public trust and we ask that the actions of one don’t deter you from the great things we do every day to keep our community safe.”
Long Beach police arrested about 75 people Sunday after what started as a peaceful protest staged by thousands outside the Police Department’s downtown headquarters devolved into looting and destruction outside the Pike Outlets. Mayor Robert Garcia said most of those arrests were for curfew violations, rather than looting, but police have promised to use social media posts, news footage and other recordings to identify and capture looters in the days ahead.
Mayor Garcia and Luna also faced questions about the way officers used force to break up unruly protests Sunday, and why police seemed more focused on arresting peaceful protesters than looters. The mayor found himself apologizing after police hit a journalist in the throat with a rubber bullet Sunday.
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