Oakland, CA — An abused little girl was only 12-years-old when she was forced into the sex trade, forever altering the course of her life. For years, this little girl was “exploited by pimps” until she finally broke away and made it to an Oakland police officer. For a brief moment, she thought she was safe — but, according to a lawsuit, she was wrong and the cops began trafficking her. And all of it stems from police being entirely unable to hold problem cops accountable—even when there is evidence of sexual misconduct and a paper trail of sexting.
Former Lt. Andre Hill was running the Richmond police department’s Youth Service Division when he came across Celeste Guap in 2015. In 2017, he was fired after it was discovered that for years, he sent the teen sexually explicit messages and engaged in oral sex with her.
But he was never charged.
What’s more, the department is refusing to release Hill’s disciplinary records which is in direct violation of the state’s new transparency law, Senate Bill 1421, which defines sexual assault against a member of the public broadly when a cop is on duty and requires such records be made public.
“These records fall squarely within the new transparency law,” said media law and open government attorney Michael Risher, according to KQED. “Here’s a sustained finding against the officer for sexting on and off duty, and a specific factual finding that while he was on duty he sent text messages to an 18-year-old member of the public, which clearly fall within the definition of propositioning her for a sexual act.”
Even more damning is the fact that records show Hill filed last year to get his job back. Richmond authorities went on to conclude that Hill’s actions, were legal but “reflected unfavorably upon the Department and its members,” especially given Hill’s position at the time as head of Richmond Police Department’s Youth Services Division, according to KQED.
Administrative law judge Jill Schlichtmann, admitting that what Hill did was wrong, recommended he be reinstated.
“(Hill’s) misconduct was very serious, however, it occurred during a short period of time during his 22 years at the department,” she wrote in a recommendation. “He has otherwise lived a law-abiding life and has given much to the people of Richmond.”
This is the problem.
As TFTP previously reported, Hill is only one of the cops tied to Celeste Guap. When the young girl went to police to get help, she was actually being brought into a depraved circle of cops from multiple departments who would continue to abuse her for years to come.
Instead of helping her, more than 30 other law enforcement officers “continued to traffic, rape, victimize and exploit a teenage girl who needed to be rescued,” according to a legal claim filed with the Oakland city attorney’s office. “Instead of helping [the teen] find a way out of exploitation, they furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade,” the claim continued.
Hill’s fight for his job and lack of charges should come as no surprise given the history of these cops. As we previously reported, some of the officers involved in covering up this explicit case of child sex trafficking are not only being promoted — but honored.
Knowing that if they conducted their honors ceremony in public, they would likely see a huge backlash, the Oakland police department held a secret ceremony in a church in 2017.
Several of the officers honored at the ceremony were the same ones involved in covering up, mishandling, or otherwise participating in the sex-crime incident.
As the East Bay Express noted at the time, two dozen protesters picketed the ceremony at the church’s entrance, accusing Mayor Libby Schaaf and the department of rewarding officers who should instead be punished.
“They seem to be resisting change,” said Gwen Hardy, a longtime Oakland resident who has been involved in efforts to reform the OPD since the 1980s, according to the Express. Hardy said the Coalition for Police Accountability, which spearheaded the creation of the city’s new police commission, met with Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick earlier this year. Kirkpatrick told the activists she wouldn’t hesitate to discipline, and even fire, bad cops.
“But why promote them?” Hardy asked.
Normally, when police officers honor themselves with awards and promotions, these events are broadcast into the public light to bolster their public image. However, when they are honoring those who facilitated a child sex scandal, they have to do it in secret. No media was allowed in the event and, in fact, they were forced to stand 50 yards away from the entrance.
As the Express noted, in the past, media were invited to these functions — but not anymore.
Roland Holmgren was one of the officers honored at the ceremony for his recent promotion to captain.
Holmgren was one of dozens of cops referred to in a special court investigator’s report as having mishandled the Celeste Guap case, in which multiple Oakland cops raped and trafficked a young woman and illegally accessed department records, among other crimes, according to the Express.
Several other officers, including Capt. Kirk Coleman who now runs the Internal Affairs Division, were in attendance. Coleman was also involved in the sex trafficking cover up and named in the report for failing to notify the District Attorney about the criminal behavior of the officers in the case.
The public became aware of the investigation after Guap went public and the investigation revealed a massive conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse by dozens of California cops.
“It appears to be a cesspool here,” local attorney, John Burris, responsible for a 2003 federal probe into the Oakland police department said at the time. “But you gotta keep working at it to drain the swamps.”
With sex trafficking on the rise in the United States, it is no wonder government is admitting they have no way to stop it. After all, if they are awarding police officers and rehiring them for covering up and participating in one of most reported on underage sex trafficking cases in the country, why on earth would we expect them to do anything to stop it?