Four police officers will be terminated from the Richmond Police Department for their conduct and involvement with a 19-year-old woman formerly known as “Celeste Guap.”
In a statement released yesterday morning, the Richmond City Manager’s office said that the four police officers were placed on administrative leave on Friday, Oct. 28.
The announcement of the officers’ termination followed an extensive internal investigation led by the police department’s Office of Professional Accountability. Investigators examined over 10,000 text messages and cellphone records, 5,000 social media pages, and contact with 45 individuals.
On September 23, in response to the investigation, City Manager Bill Lindsay’s office released a statement recommending that one officer be terminated, another demoted, two suspended and that five receive letters of reprimand.
In an interview, Lindsay said that the four officers who will be terminated were the same officers recommended to be terminated, demoted, and suspended in the statement released in September. Five other officers will still receive letters of reprimand, a process that the Richmond Police Department will oversee.
“That police department has really worked to become a national model for community policing and that relies on community trust,” said Lindsay. “To help preserve that trust, there needed to be decisive, disciplinary actions in this case.”
Lindsay said he was not permitted to release the names of the terminated officers.
“It’s entirely appropriate that they were terminated for their conduct,” said Guap’s attorney, John Burris, who called the officers’ behavior “criminal” and “immoral.”
The Richmond Police Department is just one of the police departments in the Bay Area named in the case involving Guap, who says she was exploited for sex by police officers while she was underage.
Other departments involved in the case include the San Francisco Police Department, the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
In September, Guap filed a claim against the Oakland Police Department for $66 million, claiming she was a “teenage victim of statutory rape and sex trafficking.” She is also seeking $30 million in damages for forced labor and trafficking from the City of Richmond.
In Monday’s statement, Mayor Tom Butt said that the Richmond Police Department’s integrity and professionalism is important to the city. He also commended Lindsay for his office’s actions.
“These appropriate corrective actions will ensure that Richmond does its part to address the rash of improper conduct seen in police departments across the Bay Area,” Butt said.
The four terminated officers may “request a hearing regarding the proposed discipline” and “seek binding arbitration to determine a final outcome,” according to Monday’s statement.
The Richmond Police Department did not respond to request for comment.