Long Beach Police Department Removes 'Unauthorized' Trump Flag Flying Over Headquarters

A Trump flag is shown flying over the Long Beach Public Safety Building. The police department said the flag was not authorized, and has opened a criminal investigation. (Courtesy of Ian Thomas Malone)

The Long Beach Police Department says it is investigating how a Trump flag emblazoned with "Make America Great Again" ended up flying over headquarters this weekend.

The department released a statement after it said it discovered Sunday morning that "someone gained access into a secured construction area of the Long Beach Police Department Public Safety Building."

It's not clear how long the Trump flag had been up. While LBPD said it only learned of the flag on Sunday, residents began posting online about the flag on Saturday and contacting city officials and media.

The department said on social media there was no indication that the suspect was an employee.

According to police, the city of Long Beach flag was stolen and replaced with an "unauthorized political flag" that had been padlocked to the flagpole and was only removed with bolt cutters.

"The flagpoles are only accessible from a small, secured parking lot which houses a construction trailer" and access is mostly limited to construction workers, according to the statement.

Long Beach police say access to the flagpoles at the Long Beach Public Safety Building was in a construction area that was mostly limited to work crews. (Ian Thomas Malone)

A minute's worth of surveillance footage released by the department on social media shows an individual being filmed from a distance entering and leaving the lot during daytime.

In its statement, the department distanced itself from the incident:

LBPD is an apolitical organization and does not participate in any political activity that promotes one political party over another. Flags or images depicting political activity are not authorized or endorsed by the LBPD.

Long Beach resident Ian Thomas Malone disputes the department's timeline of events.

Malone, who lives across the street from the police station, said she first noticed the Trump flag around noon Saturday and took photos then, as well as as several hours later. During both instances, she said, police officers appeared to be watching her snap photos.

It was beyond Malone's belief that the department was not aware of the flag until Sunday.

"It's disgusting. It's despicable," Malone said. "Somebody has to be held accountable. Because somebody knows."

LAist has reached out to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia for comment. The mayor has harshly criticized the president for his handling of the pandemic.

Garcia's mother, a medical assistant, and his stepfather both died from Covid-19 over the summer.