The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has launched an investigation following allegations that several employees attended a mask-optional party at a Hollywood saloon last weekend. The officers have been allegedly neither wearing masks nor adhering to social distancing norms, which has drawn severe criticism from authorities.
At least one of the people attending the party without a mask is reportedly an officer with LAPD. The incident comes amid the increasing number of cases being reported in California. According to data from John Hopkins University, California has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the United States.
Not a Good Example
The LAPD said on Monday that it was investigating allegations that department employees attended a raucous, mask-optional party at a popular Hollywood saloon. According to a CNN report, which worked on a tipoff that a party was being organized with around 100 to 200 LAPD employees, one of the people is an officer in the LAPD's southwest division. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health and LAPD is trying o identify the other employees who had attended the party on Friday night.
The police officer was identified after a video of the party went viral. According to social media posts, the event took place at the Sassafras Saloon, 1233 Vine Street, an 80-year-old Southern-themed bar with live music played from a second-floor balcony. Many had initially thought that part was organized by the LAPD. However, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department denied that the department hosted the event.
The department now wants to identify the employees at the earliest and take necessary action. "The department is aware of video posted on social media that captured an event that does not appear to be following public health guidelines," the LAPD said in a statement. "We are trying to identify LAPD employees, who may have been in attendance."
Face Loss for LAPD
According to CNN, which claims to have identified the officer, dozens of people were visible through the bar's windows from the sidewalk and they could be seen drinking cocktails under flashlights, with loud music playing in the background. In fact, the officer who was identified reportedly said, "If you're so concerned, why don't you call the police," when the video was being shot.
The incident definitely has left the LAPD embarrassed and comes at a time when California has reported over 500,000 coronavirus cases, the highest among all states in the United States. Moreover, bars have been closed by order of Governor Gavin Newsom since late June as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which too was violated.
As of late Sunday night, more than 9,300 people have died in California since the outbreak. California has made wearing masks mandatory in public places. In fact, law enforcement is taking strict action against people not taking safety measures such as wearing a mask. In West Hollywood, LASD deputies have been issuing $300 tickets for first violations when people fail to wear masks.