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LAPD chief’s security detail faces probe for detaining a man in France accused of stealing a phone

Two members of the security team for Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore are under investigation after they arrested a man wrongly accused of robbing a high-ranking LAPD commander’s wife of her phone in Marseille, France.

The extraordinary case of ‘not your jurisdiction’ came on November 17, during a week-long overseas trip in which members of LAPD top brass met with their French counterparts to discuss security preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris (2024) and LA (2028). 

Several of the commanders’ wives accompanied them on the trip, including that of Assistant Chief Robert Marino, who wrongly accused a man of stealing her phone after they bumped into each other on the streets of the Mediterranean port city. 

The security guards arrested the unsuspecting man despite being in a foreign country with no evidence to suggest he had committed the crime

Chief Moore has issued an apology ‘for the unfortunate incident’ to both French and US officials in Marseille and has ordered an internal investigation into the circumstances of the mishap. 

The two officers who carried out the arrest have not yet been named. 

Police officers do not have the power to make arrests on foreign soil, save for in exceptional circumstances with the authorisation of the host country.  

LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore has apologised to French and US authorities after two members of his security team wrongfully arrested a man they suspected had stolen a phone from the wife of the LAPD’s assistant chief.

The security guards arrested the unsuspecting man on the streets of Marseille in southern France (pictured) despite being in a foreign country with no evidence to suggest he had committed the crime.

The security guards arrested the unsuspecting man on the streets of Marseille in southern France (pictured) despite being in a foreign country with no evidence to suggest he had committed the crime.

The incident took place at around 11:30pm local time on November 17, when Moore, Marino and their wives were leaving a restaurant accompanied by two security guards and a French National Police representative.

A statement released by the LAPD obtained by the LA Times claimed that a man bumped into Marino’s wife on the street as they exited the premises.

Marino’s wife suddenly realised she was missing her phone, and promptly accused the man who had just bumped into her of taking it amid the distraction.

The LAPD’s security team chased down the man – who was with a group of friends – and detained him on suspicion of stealing the phone, only to discover that he ‘had not stolen any property and that there was no other property missing’.

The innocent man lodged complaints with French police following the incident, who swiftly notified the US consulate.

Assistant Chief Robert Marino was accompanied in Marseille by his wife, who wrongly accused a man of stealing her phone after they bumped into each other on the streets of the Mediterranean port city

Assistant Chief Robert Marino was accompanied in Marseille by his wife, who wrongly accused a man of stealing her phone after they bumped into each other on the streets of the Mediterranean port city

LAPD officials said Moore was with the group leaving the restaurant but was not ‘present’ during the detention — suggesting the detail left Moore to detain the individuals in contravention of their duty to remain with their principals.

Assistant Chief Marino did not have a security detail. 

Officials went on to confirm that Moore notified the LAPD’s Professional Standards Bureau of the incident the following day, and ‘an administrative personnel complaint investigation was initiated against the officers who made the initial detention’.

Moore subsequently apologized to both French police and US consulate officials for the unauthorized detention of an individual on French soil, and assured them an investigation would be launched into the security detail’s conduct.

The Los Angeles Police Commission, which oversees police spending, had approved Moore’s travel to France as well as $2,475 in costs for Moore’s airfare and lodging.

Construction of the future Olympic village at the UniverSeine district, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, is pictured on November 15, 2021.

Construction of the future Olympic village at the UniverSeine district, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, is pictured on November 15, 2021.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (L) shakes hands with French member of parliament Jean-Christophe Lagarde (C) during a presentation of development projects for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on the outskirts of Paris, on November 15, 2021. The Prime Minister's visit to the site coincided with the LAPD's visit to discuss security of the Paris and LA Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (L) shakes hands with French member of parliament Jean-Christophe Lagarde (C) during a presentation of development projects for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on the outskirts of Paris, on November 15, 2021. The Prime Minister’s visit to the site coincided with the LAPD’s visit to discuss security of the Paris and LA Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028

Several members of the LAPD top brass who attended the week-long security tour, which visited Paris, Nice and Marseille between November 13-20, were accompanied by their wives, but the LAPD said the spouses paid their own way and did not attend any official security meetings.

Although the 2024 Summer Olympic Games are officially hosted in Paris, some of the events will take place in Nice and Marseille, owing to the warm weather and ideal conditions for sailing and other sports.

Construction of the Olympic village and some of the sporting venues is currently underway, with French Prime Minister Jean Castex paying a visit to one construction site in Paris during the LAPD’s trip.


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