Council candidate shot a man while she was a police officer; now it’s a campaign issue

The service record of a retired Long Beach police officer running for City Council is under new scrutiny after a local columnist published court records detailing how she and her partner shot and wounded a man in 1994.

Cindy Allen is locked in a contentious race for the 2nd District council seat with local businessman Robert Fox, whose campaign has seized on the shooting as evidence that Allen is the wrong candidate for a moment when cities are rethinking police policies.

Allen—who has tried to position herself as a reformer—has defended the shooting, saying witnesses reported they heard a gunshot and saw the man holding a weapon.

“This was a white man with a gun threatening a woman,” Allen said during a recent candidates forum.

However, court documents obtained and published by Beachcomber columnist Stephen Downing tell a more nuanced—and sometimes contradictory—story.

Krone Tremain, a longtime longshoreman, was driving home from a union meeting around 12:30 a.m. on May 5, 1994, when he picked up a woman who’d flagged him down and asked him to take her to a motel on Pacific Coast Highway, according to court documents filed by Tremain’s attorney.

Tremain reportedly dropped off the woman and—for an unknown reason—another woman got into his car and “began vandalizing it.” This sparked a confrontation between Tremain and the woman.

Tremain’s attorney writes that another man then arrived and helped the woman rob Tremain. At one point, the lawyer writes, the woman grabbed a gun from Tremain’s truck, pointed it at him, and as they struggled over the weapon, it let loose a shot that didn’t hurt anyone.

The attackers beat up Tremain and then fled before police got there, according to his attorney.

Allen and her partner arrived on scene knowing that there was some kind of altercation and that a shot had been fired, according to court documents. A dispatcher told them the suspect was “a male White with a gun wearing only blue jeans and no shirt,” according to a statement from the city of Long Beach.

The city alleges Tremain at first refused to get out of his truck when Allen and her partner confronted him. When he eventually did, the two officers fired when he reached for the small of his back.

“Clearly, the officers believed he was armed and reaching for a weapon,” William A. Reidder, an attorney for the city, wrote.

But Tremain didn’t have a gun on him; instead, he was reaching for a badge identifying him as an honorary member of the local police union, according to court filings.

Long Beach’s attorneys point out there were several guns in his truck. He was also drunk and had a license plate frame that read “Forget 911, I dial .357,” they wrote.

Gunshot wounds to Tremain’s knee and shoulder left him partially disabled and needing surgery to correct “degenerative bone disease precipitated by those gunshot wounds,” his attorney wrote. He filed a civil rights lawsuit against Allen, her partner and Long Beach.

Eventually, the case settled in 1999 with both sides agreeing to bear their own legal costs.

“The City of Long Beach did not pay any money as a result of this litigation,” city officials said in a statement Friday.

In a statement Monday, Allen accused Fox’s campaign of trying to distort the situation to make her look bad.

“In 1994, my actions saved lives,” she said. “I did my job as a police officer and responded to a very dangerous situation.”

For their part, Fox’s campaign and Downing, the columnist, have accused Allen of misrepresenting the outcome of the lawsuit when she said it was “thrown out of court.”

Downing said he’d already been researching the details of Allen’s shooting and wrote an article after her description of what happened didn’t match what he’d been reading in court documents.

“If elected, she will be making judgements about LBPD policy and she will use her credibility as a former police officer to support her opinions and votes,” he said. “So, I elected to look into it and at the same time get a handle on whether she is going to be a status quo (Police Officers Association) cop with Mayoral support and end any attempt at reform or see if she has seen from experience what needs to be changed in the LBPD?”

Bad blood between Downing and Allen has been thick. She has accused him of coordinating with the Fox campaign to attack her, something he denies.

Downing, who has donated to Fox’s campaign, responded to that accusation by calling Allen a “willing cog” in a political clique that “is a corrupting influence upon the governance of our city.”

Allen is close friends with Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and the Long Beach Police Officers Association has spent tens of thousands of dollars supporting her candidacy.

Editor’s note: Cindy Allen owned the Long Beach Post until June 2018 when she sold the publication to Pacific Community Media. She has had no affiliation or editorial involvement since then.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.