Community demands accountability from Torrance PD amid department's hate speech scandal

Community members are demanding accountability after it was revealed last week that more than a dozen Torrance police officers were under investigation for hate speech and two of the officers were accused of painting a swastika over an impounded vehicle.

Last week, two ex-Torrance PD officers faced felony charges for allegations of painting the swastika. On top of that, the department identified at least 12 other officers from the department accused of exchanging racist, discriminatory, homophobic and/or anti-semitic messages.

On Tuesday, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles held a press conference outside the Torrance City Hall, where speakers called on the police department to create a civilian oversight commission. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 2 former Torrance police officers face felony charges for allegedly painting swastika on vehicle

In addition to calling for the oversight commission, those who gathered Tuesday evening also called for justice for Christopher De'Andre Mitchell. Mitchell was a 23-year-old man who was shot and killed by Torrance police officers. 

Back in December of 2018, Torrance PD found Mitchell inside a stolen car in a parking lot. According to a review from then-Los Angeles County DA Jackie Lacey's office, TPD officer Matthew Concannon forced open the driver's side door to confront Mitchell. During the confrontation, Mitchell's hands came off the steering wheel and towards his lap, prompting Concannon to believe the suspect was reaching for a gun.

Mitchell's hand movements prompted Concannon to draw his gun and yell, "Don't move!" at the suspect, Lacey's office said. After Concannon demanded Mitchell to get out of the car, the officer noticed that Mitchell was possibly moving his hands toward a weapon that was on his lap, Concannon shot the suspect, Lacey's office said in the written review.

After the shot was fired, another TPD officer at the scene – Anthony Chavez – was not initially aware who shot first so Chavez fired two rounds from his gun. The shooting from the two TPD officers killed Mitchell on scene.

Fast-forward to August of 2021, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles is calling for Torrance PD to fire the two officers involved in the deadly shooting of Mitchell.

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