Long Beach police are investigating a private Facebook group where activist Shaun King alleges some of its former officers and retired officers from other Los Angeles County agencies were plotting against his life.
King, a writer and prominent social media figure known for promoting social justice causes, outlined what he says is evidence of California law enforcement officials “openly plotting to kill me and organizing each other to execute it” in a Medium post Thursday.
King shared screenshots of posts in the unnamed group. He said the threats started when former Long Beach police officer Laura Tartaglione shared one of his tweets and wrote, “I think California needs to start putting a team together of retired military, police, and NRA Members. These criminals that the Democrats created need to be stopped.”
King alleges others then piled on and threats grew more specific, including a retired Los Angeles police officer saying they “Need a sniper” and another Long Beach police official calling for a long-distance operation.
In a statement Thursday, the Long Beach Police Department called the posts “incredibly disturbing” and said it would conduct a criminal investigation with assistance from the FBI.
The department confirmed three former officers from its force were involved, but no one it currently employs as a police officer.
“Although we have one current employee with the same name as a member of the Facebook group, this employee is not involved in the online group,” the statement read. “We also have no information indicating that any other current LBPD employees are involved in this situation.”
The department says it takes the threats seriously and that the “tone and content of the posts … in no way reflect the core values and professional standards held by the men and women in our organization.”
The L.A. Police Department said it had no comment on the allegations.
“Retired officers do not represent the department and we do not have further information,” Officer Rosario Cervantes with LAPD’s media relations department said in an email.
The Inglewood Police Department said one of the accounts involved shares the same name as one of its retired officers. But the agency said it has “no verification at this time that the retired officer is responsible for the comment that is being attributed to him.”
The department said the messages are “outrageous, disgusting, and are the antithesis of our core values as a City.”
In a video message sent to KTLA, King said he was speaking with attorneys and working to “figure out what the best legal strategy is to hold those who made these death threats accountable.”