July 7, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Petition Calls for Recall of Santa Monica Police Chief Following Looting

Petition circulating calling for the recall of Santa Monica Police Department Chief Cynthia Renaud

By Sam Catanzaro

Over 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for the immediate recall of Santa Monica’s police chief following widespread looting that occurred on Sunday.

The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has arrested over 450 people who have taken advantage of peaceful protests by looting and vandalizing hundreds of local businesses.

41 were made Monday and 438 were made on Sunday, according to the City, who has recorded 347 damage reports, including 84 reports of graffiti and 292 reports of damage to retail businesses, of which 155 indicated significant damage.

Despite these arrests, a petition is circulating calling on SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud to be recalled due to the Department’s handling of the looting.

“After seeing the widespread looting and vandalism of our city and local businesses, we can do better. After seeing our brave law enforcement officers stand by without strong leadership or overarching strategy to protect themselves, our city, and its citizens, we have to do better. After seeing SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud conduct a blundering press conference that was completely misaligned with the current realities, we must do better,” reads the petition, which as of Monday 1 p.m. had over 1,000 supporters. “We need and deserve strong, resounding leadership in Santa Monica’s police force, particularly during today’s volatile times. SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud has proven incapable of responding to that call effectively. For the sake of our community and public safety, we need to remove Cynthia Renaud from her position immediately.”

As of 1:15 p.m. Thursday, the petition has collected over 43,000 signatures.

Among reasons people cited for signing was observing SMPD officers fire tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors while looting occurred nearby.

“Watching massive numbers of cops standing around in military formations monitoring protesters who were behaving lawfully, while 1,700 feet away violent criminals were running rampant is beyond unacceptable,” wrote a supporter named Steve.

Others took issue with lack of preparation on behalf of the Department considering the damage neighboring Los Angeles experienced on Friday and Saturday night.

“City officials saw what happened in other LA jurisdictions, knew of the protest and did not proactively plan, prepare, forewarn or protect the residents and businesses from the terrorist assault we had to endure…alone,” wrote a supporter named Sheri.

The SMPD and the City of Santa Monica have not responded to a request for comment and a list of questions for Renaud. These questions are listed below.

Given the looting that happened in surrounding cities on Saturday why wasn’t the Santa Monica Police Department more prepared for what happened yesterday?

There were many moments [Sunday] when Santa Monica police officers were seen fire in rubber bullets and teargas at the peaceful protesters while looting occurred unimpeded nearby. Why did the police department choose this tactic as opposed to go in after the looters?

There is currently a petition circulating online calling for the resignation of Chief Renaud due to the handling of [Sunday’s] events. Does the chief know about this petition and what would she say to the frustrations of those involved?

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