Richmond, CA — The Richmond police department plans to fire the supervisor of an elite squad that got caught stealing drinks from a mall cookie shop this summer.
The Richmond Police Officers Association received written notice of the action earlier this week. Last month, interim Police Chief Terry Hudson recommended the supervisor would be demoted and suspended for two months. But that plan has changed.
Sergeant Hector Esparza will appeal the decision, as will several other officers who were suspended for two weeks without pay in connection with the same incident.
Union lawyer Mary Sansen says firing is inappropriate for the alleged behavior.
Thirty-eight-year-old Esparza supervised the department´s Violence Suppression Unit. His team was one of many that searched in and around Hilltop Mall late July 15th for a man who shot at a security guard.
Several hours into the manhunt, at least six officers from Esparza´s unit went behind the counter of a Mrs. Fields Original Cookies shop and helped themselves to sodas. The incident was recorded by the store´s security camera. The owner reported it the next day.
Esparza later said he considered leaving cash on the register, but worried it would get stolen. The store owner says he would´ve been happy if a note had been left behind. At the time, Sansen said the officers were dehydrated “to the point of desperation.”