Bomb Squad Officer Suspended for South LA Fireworks Blast

LAPD imposed a 10-day suspension for a 1 of the 6 officers involved in the June 2021 accidental explosion that damaged or destroyed 17 homes and referred 3 others for discipline

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A single Los Angeles Police Department officer has been suspended for 10 days for their role in an explosion -- in which they and five other officers on the bomb squad failed to carefully calculate the explosive power of a cache of illegal fireworks, which were intentionally detonated on a residential street in South Los Angeles and caused major damage to homes and cars.

In addition to the officer who received the suspension, the LAPD confirmed late Wednesday three additional officers were accused of misconduct for the incident, but they have challenged the penalties and the status or outcomes of those cases is secret under California law.

Two additional officers involved in the incident were not accused of misconducts for their actions and instead received, "corrective action," which often refers to additional training.

The unnamed suspended officer was found by the LAPD to have been, "deficient in duties which contributed to an excessive quantity of explosive material being loaded into and detonated in the Total Containment Vessel."

Last year the LAPD said it had reassigned all of the officers involved in the incident, including replacing supervisors, and it began training 8 new officers to work as bomb technicians.

The massive detonation damaged or destroyed 17 homes and caused a number of injuries to residents and officers on June 30, 2021, and 3 investigative reports blamed members of the bomb squad for making the catastrophic error:

  • ATF agents found officers caused the uncontrolled explosion by "inadvertently overloading" a special containment truck without calculating the explosive power of the fireworks
  • The LAPD's after-action report found, "the failure of the TCV occurred as a result of miscalculations by Bomb Squad personnel"
  • The LAPD's watchdog agency found, "it was never the practice of the bomb squad to physically weigh a suspected explosive."

Last month the LA City Council approved spending more than $2-million to continue to assist residents displaced by the explosion with housing, after the City in February backed away from plans to cut-off assistance.

The man who brought the illegal fireworks into California from Nevada was sentenced last year to 5 months in federal prison. Arturo Ceja, III, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of transporting explosives without a license.

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