RICHMOND (CBS SF) — Several Richmond police officers likely violated department policies in their interactions with a young woman at the center of an expansive law enforcement scandal but don’t seem to have broken any laws, interim police Chief Allwyn Brown wrote in a letter to city officials.
In the letter to Richmond city administrator Bill Lindsay, Mayor Tom Butt and members of the City Council, Brown said evidence gathered in the investigation into contact between his officers and woman known as Celeste Guap “will likely sustain multiple violations of policies—non criminal—against several officers.”
Several Richmond police officers have been under investigation for their interactions with the woman, an apparent human trafficking victim who may have been victimized by multiple Oakland police officers while underage.
Richmond police Officer Jerrod Tong was placed on leave in connection with the investigation in July after he was reassigned away from positions where he had any interaction with youth.
Lt. Andre Hill, a department spokesman, was also reassigned from his role as manager of the Youth and Special Services Division, but remains on active duty with the department.
The investigation into Guap, which is not the woman’s real name, began in Oakland with the suicide last fall of Officer Brendan O’Brien. Revelations in O’Brien’s suicide note led to police interviewing Guap, the daughter of a police dispatcher, and investigating whether officers had sex with her while she was underage.
While the investigation proceeded quietly for months, some of the allegations became public in May, and quickly ballooned to involve several Bay Area agencies. Three Oakland police chiefs resigned as the scandal grew and the department’s hiring and training protocols are being reviewed.
In addition to the discipline in Richmond, so far as a result of the investigation at least three Oakland police officers have been placed on leave, two have resigned, a former Oakland police captain was fired as an Alameda County district attorney’s inspector, a Livermore police officer has been placed on leave and a Contra Costa sheriff’s deputy has resigned.
Brown said that the first investigation into the Richmond officers’ involvement should be done in the coming weeks. He praised the department’s Office of Professional Accountability’s investigation.
“This is a very complex and unique set of circumstances, and investigation,” Brown said. “Guap, the primary witness, has been cooperative and truthful, yet reserved and protective of her acquaintances.”
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