This story has been updated with the names of the former Long Beach Police Department officers involved and the dates they left the department as well as a statement from Mayor Robert Garcia.
Three former Long Beach Police Department officers wrote violent threats against Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King on a private Facebook page for California law enforcement officers, police confirmed Thursday, June 25.
King, in an article he penned on Medium, said a private Facebook group for California law enforcement officers had members using their real names and “openly plotting and planning (his) assassination.”
Screenshots included in the Medium article show current and former officers of various California agencies saying “Toss this guy from a helicopter,’” “Need a sniper,” “Shaun King needs to be put down,” recommend retroactive birth control, or post-birth abortion, whatever you wanna call it,” and other threats apparently aimed at King.
According to King, the threats began with retired Long Beach Police Officer Laura Tartgaglione, who allegedly wrote, “The man who put this tweet out today is a FOUNDING MEMBER OF BLM, he also introduced Bernie Sanders at his attempted presidential run. I think (California) needs to start putting a team together of retired military, police and NRA MEMBERS! We have no protection. These criminals that the Democrats created need to be stopped.”
Tartaglione worked at the Long Beach Police Department until May 15, 1997, according to the department. The two other former Long Beach officers involved in the threats are Jeffrey Garcia, who worked there until June 27, 2014, and Mary Jensen, who worked there until May 1, 1993, the department said.
LBPD made it clear in a press release that although there is a current employee with the same name as the member of the Facebook group, their employee is not part of the group. Furthermore, the department stated that there is no information indicating that any current LBPD employees are involved.
Information regarding the threats were sent to the Long Beach Police Department’s Investigations Bureau for an internal review and recommendations regarding a criminal investigation, the department said. The FBI will assist the department with the investigation.
“The Long Beach Police Department is appalled and deeply disturbed by the tone and content of the posts which in no way reflect the core values and professional standards held by the men and women in our organization,” the department said in a statement.
“We are 100% committed to working in partnership with our community to ensure that all people are treated with respect and professionalism and will not tolerate any bias, racism or threats to individuals.”
King raised doubt in the Medium article that police departments would be able to properly investigate their current and former officers for the threats.
“Who do you call to report the misconduct of current and retired law enforcement officers? Because I lack confidence in any law enforcement system to handle this, I feel the burden to release this publicly for my own safety and for the safety of my family,” said King, who says he receives death threats every day.
Mayor Robert Garcia said the city asked the FBI to investigate the threats.
“The social media comments by retired and former LBPD officers about Shaun King are disgusting and unacceptable,” Garcia said. “The city has asked the FBI to investigate these serious threats.”