Two former Torrance, CA, police officers have been charged with spray painting a swastika on the seat of an impounded vehicle last year.
Christopher Tomsic, 29, and Cody Weldin, 28, pleaded not guilty Thursday to one felony count each of vandalism and conspiracy to commit vandalism, City News Service reports.
The two were among a group of officers who responded to a Jan. 27, 2020, call about three men who had stolen mail from an apartment building, and were led to a vehicle that may have been used in the crime and was subsequently taken to a tow yard, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The vandalism was reportedly discovered by the owner.
“Immediately upon learning of the reprehensible allegations in 2020, the Torrance Police Department opened a criminal investigation and the officers were put on leave,'' Torrance police Sgt. Mark Ponegalek said in a statement. “The criminal case was delivered to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in April of 2020 with a recommendation that criminal charges be filed. The defendants do not work for the Torrance Police Department and we are cooperating to the fullest extent with prosecutors.''
District Attorney George Gascon said his office will be reviewing hundreds of cases involving the two officers to ensure no other alleged misconduct occurred.