A former Long Beach Police officer was arrested Wednesday pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment alleging he possessed and distributed child pornography while working as a law enforcement officer.
Anthony Brown, 57, of Lakewood, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday afternoon to three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California said in a news release.
According to the indictment returned on Sept. 21, Brown used MeWe, an internet-based messaging application, to distribute sexually explicit images of girls from November 2019 and April 2020, the DA’s office said. Brown was removed from MeWe and reported by the platform to authorities, according to a MeWe spokesperson.
From October 2019 through May 2020, Brown also knowingly possessed a sexually explicit image of a girl under the age of 12, the indictment obtained by the DA’s office alleges.
Brown was an officer with the Long Beach Police Department for 27 years, most recently assigned to a Long Beach airport security detail.
The department began investigating him in May 2020 after they received an anonymous tip about a possible crime against a child, the Los Angeles Times reported. Brown was then suspended without pay.
He left the force earlier this year after his arrest on state charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has since dismissed those charges, in light of the federal case.
Brown will receive a pension of about $93,000 a year, the Long Beach Post reported, which is guaranteed under state law. However it has exceptions, including if he is convicted of a felony connected to his job, according to the report.
At Wednesday’s arraignment, Brown was released on bond and a trial was scheduled for Nov. 23.
If convicted of all charges, Brown could face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 80 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.