RICHMOND (CBS SF) — After reviewing the results of an investigation into sexual misconduct involving a sex trafficking victim, four Richmond police officers have been terminated, city officials said Sunday morning.
The four officers were among 11 who were being investigated in connection with allegations of improper conduct made by a 19-year-old woman.
Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay made the decision to fire the officers, telling KPIX 5 on Monday “the conduct was egregious enough where it warranted termination.”
The woman, who is not being named because she is a victim of sex trafficking, has alleged that she had sex with a number of Bay Area law enforcement officers, including some while she was underage. In return, some officers allegedly tipped her off to planned police enforcement actions.
The allegations have led to criminal charges against seven officers from three different law enforcement departments.
Last month, Richmond police Chief Allwyn Brown said while the 11 officers investigated had been cleared of criminal misconduct some would still face discipline.
“The professionalism and integrity of our police department is of high importance and is appoint of pride for out city,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in statement. “The appropriate corrective actions are being taken to ensure that we do our part in Richmond to address the rash of improper conduct seen in police departments across the Bay Area.”
While none of the officers were named, city officials previously have disclosed that Officer Jerrod Tong was placed on leave in connection with the investigation and Lt. Andre Hill, a department spokesman, was reassigned from roles where he interacted with youth.
The woman’s previous attorneys Pamela Price and Charles Bonner filed a claim on Sept. 30 on behalf of the woman against the city of San Francisco seeking $18 million in damages. They also filed claims against Oakland and Richmond totaling $96 million.
The woman is now being represented by attorney John Burris. Burris said he and his client are continuing to assist the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in their investigation and that the termination of the officers is a move toward rebuilding trust with the community.
“This is an important step toward transparency and accountability,” according to Burris.
“Immoral and improper conduct will not be swept under the rug and officers should know that it can lead to being terminated or perhaps prosecuted,” Burris said. “The community can’t have respect for the department is they find out that officers are engaged in conduct that is improper.”
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