Oakland, CA — An abused little girl was only 12-years-old when she was forced into the sex trade, forever altering the course of her life. For years, this little girl was “exploited by pimps” until she finally broke away and made it to an Oakland police officer. For a brief moment, she thought she was safe — but, according to a lawsuit, she was wrong and the cops began trafficking her. And all of it stems from police being entirely unable to hold problem cops accountable—even when there is evidence of sexual misconduct and a paper trail of sexting.
This week, we find out that a high-ranking Richmond police official and five other officers who exchanged explicit messages with the teen were all given written reprimands — and kept their jobs!
Previously, TFTP reported on former Lt. Andre Hill who was running the Richmond police department’s Youth Service Division when he came across Celeste Guap in 2015. In 2017, he was fired after it was discovered that for years, he sent the teen sexually explicit messages and engaged in oral sex with her.
But he was never charged and is currently fighting for his job back. Now, as part of a settlement agreement stemming from a lawsuit over SB 1421, the 2019 police transparency law, records of the other officers’ “discipline” were released.
According to a report out of the Mercury News,
Records released Wednesday for the first time publicly identify four Richmond officers disciplined for their involvement with the Richmond teenager, known as Celeste Guap.
Most notably is Lt. Felix Tan, who was the chief of staff to then-Chief Allwyn Brown. As a public information officer, Tan helped craft the department’s messaging as the scandal ricocheted from the Oakland Police Department to Richmond.
To be clear, Tan was issuing the police department’s response to the officers who sexted a trafficked teen and he was involved in the very act. You cannot make this up! When IA asked Tan about the messages, he had no problem admitting to them, saying “Of course I made some comments because I’m a guy.”
Tan and Hill are among the highest ranking officials in any of the departments and now we have the names of multiple other cops.
In interviews with this news organization in 2016, Guap named five officers she claimed to have a relationship with: Lt. Hill, Sgt. Armando Moreno, Sgt. Mike Rood, Officer Jarred Tong and Officer Terrance Jackson. This organization typically does not name victims of sexual assault or trafficking, but did so after Guap (who uses an assumed name) had spoken out publicly in the case.
The new records confirm the names of three other officers: Detective Sgt. Erik Oliver, Detective Daniel Campos, and Officer Joe Deorian, who all received written reprimands for sexually explicit messaging with Guap.
None of the officers were charged nor were they fired. This is a problem.
As TFTP previously reported, when the young girl went to police to get help, she was actually being brought into a depraved circle of cops from multiple departments who would continue to abuse her for years to come.
Instead of helping her, more than 30 other law enforcement officers “continued to traffic, rape, victimize and exploit a teenage girl who needed to be rescued,” according to a legal claim filed with the Oakland city attorney’s office. “Instead of helping [the teen] find a way out of exploitation, they furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade,” the claim continued.
Keeping jobs and not facing charges should come as no surprise given the history of these cops. As we previously reported, some of the officers involved in covering up this explicit case of child sex trafficking are not only being promoted — but honored.
Knowing that if they conducted their honors ceremony in public, they would likely see a huge backlash, the Oakland police department held a secret ceremony in a church in 2017.
Several of the officers honored at the ceremony were the same ones involved in covering up, mishandling, or otherwise participating in the sex-crime incident.
As the East Bay Express noted at the time, two dozen protesters picketed the ceremony at the church’s entrance, accusing Mayor Libby Schaaf and the department of rewarding officers who should instead be punished.
“They seem to be resisting change,” said Gwen Hardy, a longtime Oakland resident who has been involved in efforts to reform the OPD since the 1980s, according to the Express. Hardy said the Coalition for Police Accountability, which spearheaded the creation of the city’s new police commission, met with Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick earlier this year. Kirkpatrick told the activists she wouldn’t hesitate to discipline, and even fire, bad cops.
“But why promote them?” Hardy asked.
Normally, when police officers honor themselves with awards and promotions, these events are broadcast into the public light to bolster their public image. However, when they are honoring those who facilitated a child sex scandal, they have to do it in secret. No media was allowed in the event and, in fact, they were forced to stand 50 yards away from the entrance.
As the Express noted, in the past, media were invited to these functions — but not anymore.
Roland Holmgren was one of the officers honored at the ceremony for his recent promotion to captain.
Holmgren was one of dozens of cops referred to in a special court investigator’s report as having mishandled the Celeste Guap case, in which multiple Oakland cops raped and trafficked a young woman and illegally accessed department records, among other crimes, according to the Express.
Several other officers, including Capt. Kirk Coleman who now runs the Internal Affairs Division, were in attendance. Coleman was also involved in the sex trafficking cover up and named in the report for failing to notify the District Attorney about the criminal behavior of the officers in the case.
The public became aware of the investigation after Guap went public and the investigation revealed a massive conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse by dozens of California cops.
“It appears to be a cesspool here,” local attorney, John Burris, responsible for a 2003 federal probe into the Oakland police department said at the time. “But you gotta keep working at it to drain the swamps.”
With sex trafficking on the rise in the United States, it is no wonder government is admitting they have no way to stop it. After all, if they are awarding police officers, not firing, and also rehiring them for covering up and participating in one of most reported on underage sex trafficking cases in the country, why on earth would we expect them to do anything to stop it?