A Long Beach Police Department officer has been suspended for allegedly making “biased and prejudiced remarks in electronic communications,” and authorities are reviewing his past use of force incidents and arrest reports, police said Friday.
Officer Maxwell Schroeder, a five-year veteran of the department, was suspended Thursday. He was most recently assigned to Field Support, according to the LBPD.
“On August 19, the Long Beach Police Department was notified that one of our officers had made biased and prejudiced remarks in electronic communications with a non-LBPD employee,” according to an LBPD statement. “The department immediately launched an internal administrative investigation and re-assigned the officer to a desk assignment. In the weeks since, the department has acquired additional evidence and, yesterday, internal affairs investigators interviewed the officer as part of the internal administrative investigation,” police said.
The announcement comes days after the state Attorney General’s Office announced it was launching a probe into the Torrance Police Department in response to revelations of racist text messages shared among a group of a dozen or more officers for years. Those messages have led to the dismissal of hundreds of criminal cases in which the officers were involved due to concerns about racial bias, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Times report identified Schroeder — a former Torrance police recruit — as among those possibly implicated in the Torrance police investigation.
In announcing the state investigation Wednesday, Attorney General Rob Bonta said “where there is evidence of potentially pervasive bias or discrimination, it can undermine the trust that is critical for public safety and our justice system.”
The Long Beach Police Department on Friday cited the serious nature of the allegations against Schroeder and based its decision to suspend him on a preliminary review of the evidence and investigation. The suspension is pending a final determination of the administrative investigation.
“The Long Beach Police Department holds all its employees to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism — and we have zero tolerance for all forms of prejudice,” police said.
The investigation is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. The department is reviewing previous use of force incidents and arrests reports made by Schroeder, raising the potential that some criminal cases in which he was involved could be in jeopardy.
Details of the remarks allegedly made by Schroeder were not released.
“This department does not tolerate biased or prejudicial behavior by any employee — this officer’s actions do not reflect the morals held by our officers who engage with our diverse community,” Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna said in a statement. “Every Long Beach resident deserves to be treated with equity and respect when they interact with our personnel.”