Several community groups gathered outside Long Beach City Hall on Tuesday to demand the firing of Police Chief Robert Luna and City Manager Pat West over the police department’s use of an app that automatically deleted text messages.
Chanting “Delete Chief Luna, delete Pat West, cut PD’s budget and reinvest,” about two dozen members from groups including Long Beach Democratic Socialist of America and Black Lives Matter said the department’s use of an app called TigerText was a violation of public trust.
The groups are pushing for the LBPD to reopen all of its cases since 2014, which is when officers started using the messaging app, city officials said.
“The use of TigerText to discard evidence is not the first time (LBPD) has been abusive,” said Dawn Modkins, a Long Beach resident and member of Black Lives Matter.
Community groups are outside city hall calling for the firing of theLong Beach police and city manager over the police department’s use of a self-deleting messaging app called TigerText. @LongBeachPost pic.twitter.com/WTgUpV7OyD
— Kelly Puente (@KellyPuenteLB) October 2, 2018
Long Beach police made national headlines last month when it was revealed that officers were communicating using self-deleting text messages, a move that critics say could have compromised hundreds of civil and criminal cases.
Luna has suspended use of the app and the city has launched an outside investigation into how it was used.
Of the 291 police department-issued mobile devices, the application was installed on 145 devices, including those for command staff and specialized details such as homicide and internal affairs.
City officials said the first purchase order for the software came in June 2014 for $9,888. The contract has been renewed each year for the past four years. Under city policy, purchases under $25,000 are approved at a departmental level.
The rally Tuesday came as city council members were in a closed session to discuss a performance evaluation for the city manager.
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