A Long Beach police officer was suspended on Thursday, Dec. 9, after the department said an internal investigation revealed he made racist and biased comments.
The department said in a statement they are also reviewing previous use of force incidents and arrest reports made by Officer Maxwell Schroeder, who was named this week in an extensive investigation by the Los Angeles Times about racist and homophobic remarks made mostly by Torrance police officers.
Schroeder has been with the department since 2016 and mostly assigned to field support, the department said. He was placed on desk support in August when the department’s investigation into his comments began.
The department said in its statement that its investigation into Schroeder began Aug. 19 after it was notified of remarks he made via “electronic communications” with a person who was not an employee of LBPD.
Schroeder was suspended after the department investigation yielded additional evidence into claims that he had sent inappropriate messages, according to a press release by the LBPD.
“This department does not tolerate biased or prejudicial behavior by any employee,” LBPD Chief Robert Luna said in the press release. “This officer’s actions do not reflect the morals held by our officers who engage with our diverse community.”
Long Beach Police Officers Association President Rich Chamber said that while there is no place in law enforcement for “racist or bigoted” officers, the union believes that everyone has a right to due process.
Schroeder’s suspension comes a day after The Times report, which revealed that Schroeder sent one message in the texts reading “No Jews, No Blacks,” and made racist remarks about a child eating a watermelon. Schroeder is a former Torrance police recruit.
“It’s inappropriate to assume that just because an article was written based on a selection of leaked documents that it tells the whole story,” Chambers said in an email to the Post. “To get the whole truth requires a complete investigation of all the facts.”
According to records reviewed by The Times, several of the Torrance officers under investigation as part of the scandal have also used serious or deadly force against Black and Latino men while on duty in recent years.
In November 2018, Schroeder used a chokehold to subdue a homeless Black man in a park, according to Long Beach police records The Times obtained through a public records request.
Schroeder initiated contact with the man because he was sleeping in a park after it closed and used the choke to take him down after an altercation, according to The Times.
Long Beach police officials determined the use of force was justified and the homeless man was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, being in the park after dark and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to The Times.
The incident involving Schroeder and more than a dozen Torrance police officers could end up jeopardizing hundreds of cases.
According to the LBPD press release, the department anticipates finalizing the investigation the coming weeks.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from the Long Beach Police Officers Association president.