A former Long Beach Police Department officer charged with possession and distribution of child pornography pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
Anthony Mark Brown, 56, was charged in March with three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child or youth pornography—all felonies.
He was ordered not to have any unsupervised time with minors as a condition of remaining free on bond.
Brown—a 26-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department most recently assigned to the at Long Beach Airport—was arrested Feb. 10 while on duty. He was initially suspended without pay after his arrest and subsequently retired from the force with his $93,600 annual pension intact.
Authorities have not alleged any direct connection between Brown’s official duties with the LBPD and the accusations he shared pictures and videos of children—some estimated to be as young as 7—being sexually abused on a social media site called MeWe.
Police said a tip received in May 2020 from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children sparked the investigation. Brown remained on the force for months after police received the tip, even after investigators identified him as a suspect and searched his phone.
LBPD Chief Robert Luna later said he was “very concerned” about the timeframes in the case and ordered a review of what happened.
“As Chief of Police, I recognize the impact that these types of cases have on community trust, and I am committed to ensuring all potential allegations of misconduct are fully investigated and employees are held accountable for their actions,” Luna said at the time.
When Brown was eventually arrested on Feb. 10, police also searched his Lakewood home and seized electronics.
Shortly after the charges were filed, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement, “Any case involving the exploitation of a child is extremely disturbing, but it is particularly alarming when it involves a law enforcement officer. When an officer violates their sworn oath to serve and protect the community, they will be held to account.”
A date is scheduled to be set Sept. 27 for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case to proceed to trial.
Breaking News Editor Jeremiah Dobruck contributed to this report.
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