TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — Two former Torrance police officers pleaded not guilty Thursday to spray-painting a swastika on an impounded car.
Christopher Tomsic, 29, and Cody Weldin, 28, entered pleas to felony charges of vandalism and conspiracy to commit vandalism, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced.
In January 2020, the two were with a group of officers in the Los Angeles suburb who answered a report about three men stealing mail from an apartment building. They were led to a car that was suspected of having been used in the crime, the DA's office said in a statement.
The vehicle was taken to a tow yard but when the owner arrived to pick it up, he found a happy face had been spray-painted on the front passenger seat and a swastika on the rear seat, prosecutors said.
Torrance police placed Tomsic and Weldin were placed on leave and after investigating, recommended that criminal charges be filed. Neither man works for the department any more, police said.
“Let me be clear. I will aggressively pursue any form of bigotry, hate and misconduct,” Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah Hart said.
The district attorney's office will review hundreds of criminal cases involving the two officers “to ensure no other alleged misconduct occurred," the DA's statement said.