Hundreds of LA County Police Cases to Be Reviewed After Officers Fired Over Racist Messages

Hundreds of Los Angeles County police cases will be reviewed by the District Attorney's office after two officers were fired and charged for vandalizing a vehicle with racist messaging.

On Thursday, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that two former Torrance Police Department officers were charged for "vandalizing a vehicle that was spray-painted with a swastika during an incident last year."

The two former officers were identified by the District Attorney's office as 29-year-old Christopher Tomsic and 28-year-old Cody Weldin. Tomsic and Weldin were charged with "one felony count each of conspiracy to commit vandalism and vandalism," the District Attorney's office said in a press release.

In addition to the charges filed against the two officers, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office noted that "hundreds of cases involving the two officers will be reviewed by his office to ensure no other alleged misconduct occurred."

According to the press release, the initial incident occurred on January 27, 2020, when Tomsic and Weldin were among a group of Torrance Police Department officers responding to reports that three men allegedly stole mail from an apartment building.

The officers then discovered the vehicle possibly involved in the alleged crime and transported it to a nearby tow yard.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said that when the owners of the vehicle arrived at the tow yard to pick it up, they discovered that it had been vandalized.

The owner of the vehicle, "found that a happy face had been spray-painted on the front passenger seat and a swastika symbol on the rear seat. Other items also had been strewn throughout the vehicle," the press release said.

The press release continued, "Both officers are accused of conspiring to commit and committing the vandalism."

Los Angeles County District Attorney Gascón said in the press release that "Our office is committed to uprooting discrimination within the law enforcement ranks to preserve the integrity of the criminal legal system."

Prior to the charges announced by Gascón's office, the Torrance Police Department said in a press release that the department's Detectives Division conducted an investigation into the alleged incident and found that Tomsic and Weldin were responsible for the vandalism. They were both relieved of their duty and have not been employed by the department since.

"The Torrance Police Department is dedicated to the service and safety of our community. Immediately upon learning of the reprehensible allegations in 2020, the Torrance Police Department opened a criminal investigation and the officers were put on leave. The criminal case was delivered to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in April of 2020 with a recommendation that criminal charges be filed," Torrance Police Department Chief Jay Hart said in the press release.

"I am committed as the new Police Chief to holding all of our members, including myself, accountable to the highest standards of policing," Hart added.

According to CNN, Hart relieved 13 other officers of their duties following an investigation into messages he said involved "racism and hatred."

Newsweek was directed to the press release after reaching out to the Torrance Police Department for comment.

Torrance Police Department
Two former Torrance Police officers were charged on Thursday, August 19, 2021 for vandalizing a vehicle with a 'swastika symbol.' Above, police investigate the scene of a shooting that left three men dead and four injured at Gable House Bowl on January 5, 2019 in Torrance, California. Mario Tama/Getty