The Long Beach Police Department is investigating a theft of a city flag from a flagpole and its replacement by a campaign banner showing support for US President Donald Trump ahead of the presidential election. The City of Long Beach flag was stolen from a secure construction area outside police headquarters on Sunday.
Someone gained access to a secure construction area outside the Long Beach Police Department, removed a city flag and replaced it with a political flag, and then padlocked the pole so the flag was difficult to remove, police stated in a tweet.
According to the LA Times, local media reports revealed that a flag supporting Trump was atop one of the flagpoles at the secured construction site. The authorities had to use bolt cutters to cut the rope and remove the red MAGA flag. A criminal investigation is currently underway to find the person responsible, the department said.
In its statement, police also said that the flagpole is accessible from a small, secured parking lot that houses a construction trailer. Access to the site is limited to only construction workers because of the ongoing construction of a parking lot at police headquarters. The department released a statement after the mishap and stated that it doesn't participate in any political activity to promote one political party over another.
"The LBPD is an apolitical organization and does not participate in any political activity that promotes one political party over another. Flags or images depicting political activity are not authorized or endorsed by the LBPD," the statement said.
The department also released a surveillance video on Twitter which appears to show a person by the flagpole. However, it is not clear who the person is and what is the purpose of that individual.
"We're still reviewing evidence to find those responsible for this. Video shows a subject cross the street, enter our lot which is under construction & change the flag. No indication the subject is a #LBPD employee & we're working w/ construction company to locate any witnesses," the department wrote along with the video.
The department was slammed by netizens who took to the micro-blogging website to weigh in on the news. One user wrote, "Great security @LBPD. Did you know you can put up more than one camera?"
Another user wrote: "If someone seriously broke into police HQ property, went completely unnoticed, and the flag was left up for over 24 HOURS after the incident, it either means you are liars, or you're absolutely terrible at your job of "policing." Give me a break, LBPD, this is a hollow lie."
One user tweeted, "Are you saying that someone broke into the police department and did this??" Another one calling out the department wrote, "Reads like a cover up."
Another person suggested, "Please be transparent about this investigation, and don't treat it as a private personnel matter if you find that an LBPD employee was responsible."
Another seemingly upset user wrote, "Bullshit. I'm pretty sure it was one of your employees. But carry on with your pretend story about how someone gained access."
Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, Trump, for a short while, left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to wave at his supporters gathered outside the facility. The US President was seen wearing a mask, seated inside a black SUV as he waved at his fans. Other images showed Secret Service agents inside the vehicle with personal protective gear on. This incident was criticized by many users on social media and people were talking about how this puts the health of his secret Service agents at risk.
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced that they had tested positive for the coronavirus on October 2.