Statement On Violent Social Media Posts Directed Towards Activist Shaun King

June 26, 2020

Long Beach, Calif.- It is incredibly disturbing to see threats of violence directed towards activist and journalist Shaun King which were posted in a California law enforcement private Facebook group. These violent posts were conducted with personal accounts of identified retired Long Beach law enforcement officers. These actions by former law enforcement professionals are not only unacceptable and extremely disappointing, but are completely against the values of the residents I represent and these actions must face immediate consequence. 

This behavior, which only further diminishes community trust and public safety, should never be tolerated, regardless of retirement or current employment status. Any actions taken to reprimand this unacceptable conduct should include a thorough investigation and administered with utmost transparency and expediency, for the betterment of our democracy and public trust. As a Senator who fights daily for equity and justice in Sacramento and as a representative of such a dynamic and multicultural district in one of the most diverse states in our country—a state that has peacefully protested for a number of weeks due to the injustice lived by Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement, it appalls me that we continue to see racism, injustice and violence—both overtly and by inference against communities of color, in a place I call home and by law enforcement professionals who we are told to trust. 

Black activists who have been in this fight for many years, if not decades should never fear retribution of any kind, let alone a fear of their own life for speaking out against injustice and speaking the truth. Never. It is my understanding that the Long Beach Police Department has directed its Investigations Bureau to review evidence and offer recommendations regarding a criminal investigation on the matter and is now working with the FBI to initiate a federal investigation. As we learn more about next steps, I will continue working with community leaders and advocates to support state legislation against injustice and racism while also working closely with fellow elected leaders to not only discuss, but act upon the serious improvements, reform and transformations needed at all levels of government. 

Our communities of color have lost tremendous trust. For them, I urge a consequence that will substantiate these heinous actions. This will be another scar on our history—but it’s up to us all as elected leaders, law enforcement professionals and beyond, to stop these unjust actions from repeating themselves.