- 2 former Torrance police officers accused of spray painting a swastika on a vehicle used by suspects last year while still on the force are facing felony charges.
- In recent weeks evidence has surfaced that 13 current officers sent anti-Semitic or homophobic messages to each other and have been placed on paid administrative leave.
- The vehicle’s owner found a happy face spray painted on the front passenger seat and a swastika on the back seat, with items in the vehicle strewn about.
“Two former Torrance police officers accused of spray painting a swastika on a vehicle used by suspects last year while still on the force face felony charges, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said on Thursday, Aug. 19.
Further, in recent weeks evidence has surfaced that 13 current officers sent anti-Semitic or homophobic messages between themselves and have been placed on paid administrative leave, Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah Hart said.
The two ex-officers, Christopher Tomsic and Cody Weldin, pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of conspiracy to commit vandalism and vandalism on Thursday.
They were fired in March 2020 after the allegations of misconduct were made, Hart said during a downtown Los Angeles press conference, the first time any of the allegations had been disclosed to the public.
The Police Department presented the vandalism case to the District Attorney’s Office a month later, with the recommendation that criminal charges be filed.
“I will aggressively pursue any form of racism, bigotry, hate or misconduct at the Torrance Police Department,” Hart said.
The case did not yet have hate-crime allegations tied to it, but Gascón said that was not off of the table and the potential for that to happen later was high.
“When I looked at the initial vandalism, it raised a lot of concerns for me for the potential for hate,” he added.
Several weeks ago, the Police Department expanded the administrative investigation and found evidence of anti-Semitic and homophobic messages between the 13 current patrol officers, the police chief said, without elaborating on how those messages were disseminated…”
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