Richmond Police Officer Fired for Lying in 'Celeste Guap' Case, New Records Show

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Brief records released by the city of Richmond late Wednesday provide new details on officers disciplined in a far-reaching sexual exploitation case. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

This report contains a correction.

One of the Richmond police officers swept up in the "Celeste Guap" sexual exploitation case in 2016 was fired from the force for making false statements to internal affairs investigators, and another was suspended for an unspecified period of time for having sex on duty, according to brief records on the matter released Wednesday.

Officer Jerred Tong was "untruthful during an administrative investigation," states a document made public under the state's new police transparency law, SB 1421. Officer Terrance Jackson "engaged in (a) sexual act on duty," it says. No further details were released and may not be for weeks, Richmond officials said.

While the officers' roles in the scandal have been known, the exact nature of their discipline has not been. Both City Manager Carlos Martinez and Police Chief Allwyn Brown said that several other officers were disciplined in the sex scandal, but that those records didn't fall under what the new law allows to be made public.

“What they were disciplined for did not meet the definition of sexual assault as defined in the statute,” Martinez said of additional Richmond officers who committed misconduct in the far-reaching case. The new law defines sexual assault as any sexual contact between on-duty officers and a member of the public.

According to a lawsuit filed against Richmond, Jackson met the woman known as Guap when she attended De Anza High School, where he worked as a resource officer. While on duty, Jackson drove to her Richmond home and she went outside “wearing only a robe,” the suit alleged. The officer asked her “to show him her breasts, and when she did, he groped (her) breasts,” the complaint said. Civil rights attorney John Burris, who represented Guap, later dropped the suit.


Jackson, according to department sources, quietly returned to work at a graveyard shift roll call months after the sexual exploitation case broke.

At the time of the allegations, Tong worked as a school resource officer in Contra Costa County. Guap had sent a Bay Area News Group reporter a text purporting to be between herself and Tong, which was sent during the daytime and while he was on duty, in which he said he would stop by her mother’s Richmond home.

The widespread sexual exploitation case involving the teenager implicated more than 30 police officers in departments across the Bay Area. The woman was a sex trafficking victim since approximately age 12, according to her testimony in criminal cases that were all eventually dismissed or ended in plea deals.

In her late teens, she developed relationships with a multitude of police officers she generally met online. Officers in departments including Oakland, Richmond, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office and Livermore were disciplined, and some briefly faced criminal charges, for alleged sex with a minor and for feeding law enforcement information on prostitution stings to Guap.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against any of the Richmond police officers. Only a retired Oakland police captain was charged in Contra Costa County related to the case.

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who had called for an outside investigation, on Wednesday stood by his earlier comments in light of the new documents released by Richmond police.

“The investigation should have occurred through the state attorney general’s office,” Gioia said by phone Wednesday. “Had (that) been done, we wouldn’t be having these doubts. We wouldn’t be questioning the investigation.”

Richmond was the third Contra Costa city to release records under the new law after a stay ordered by the 1st District Court of Appeal expired Tuesday. Six law enforcement unions had sought to keep the records private, arguing that SB 1421, which took effect Jan. 1, could not be applied to records from past years. Numerous judges around the state have disagreed.

Walnut Creek on Tuesday released records showing an officer was suspended without pay for making false statements in police reports.

Martinez, which was also blocked by court order until Tuesday evening, released files on four police shootings and two other use-of-force cases. In a case from May of last year, an officer threw an agitated suspect to the ground during a traffic stop, knocking him unconscious. The suspect’s passenger complained about the treatment at the stop and requested video.

But Martinez officers do not wear body cameras, and their squad cars are not equipped with video cameras, according to the police chief.

Another Martinez officer used a carotid restraint -- or “sleeper hold” -- on a suspect in 2017, making the man lose consciousness for several seconds, according to the records.

Of the shooting cases released, three were nonfatal, stretching back to 1997. In the fatal shooting case, an officer who responded to a domestic argument between father and son fatally shot the father in 2001 after he charged his son with a pipe, according to the records.

Sukey Lewis of KQED News contributed to this report.

This story was produced as part of the California Reporting Project, a collaboration of 33 newsrooms across the state to obtain and report on police misconduct and serious use-of-force records unsealed in 2019.

March 21: The original version of this report contained an error. Jerred Tong worked as a school resource officer for a different Contra Costa County school, not De Anza High School as was initially reported. The story has been edited to correct the inaccuracy.