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Coronavirus: LAPD officers accused of defying state order by attending party at bar

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Two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers defied California governor Gavin Newsom‘s coronavirus state order, by attending a party at a bar last week.

The officers attended a private party at Sassafras Saloon in Los Angeles last Friday, at an event that was created to honour first responders, according to the owners of the bar, the 1933 Group.

CNN reported that more than 100 people were at the gathering last Friday, and many of the people in attendance were seen not wearing face masks or properly practising social distancing.

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The LAPD launched an investigation into the event and on Wednesday confirmed to USA Today that two of its officers attended the gathering.

Under California governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order, bars are unable to serve food and drink inside and indoor gatherings of more than 25 people are banned, in order to stop the spread of Covid-19, as the state has seen record daily coronavirus totals over the last few weeks.

California has recorded more than 533,000 Covid-19 cases, as at least 9,866 people have died after contracting the virus since the pandemic began, while Los Angeles has seen the most coronavirus cases of any county in the US, with at least 198,000 confirmed cases and 4,825 deaths.

Wearing masks indoors and when outdoors and unable to socially distance was also made mandatory by the governor earlier in the year.

As the party was taking place, a man outside the bar told CNN that the guests were “either family or work at the same place so that’s why we don’t have Covid concerns.”

He added: “They micro-group or whatever with each other and everyone’s been tested and everything. That’s why we all know that everyone in there is cool.”

After CNN showed the 1933 Group a picture of the man, they responded via email and said that he “is NOT an employee of 1933 or affiliated with the group in any way.”

The group added that it “unequivocally (does) not condone this behaviour and (has) no intention of agreeing to additional private events, charitable or otherwise, until the state allows.”

A statement from the LAPD about the incident read: “The chief of police has made his expectations clear and department notices have been distributed, that every employee shall wear a face covering and practice social distancing when possible at work and in the field.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, in the US as a whole, some 4.8 million people have tested positive for coronavirus. The death toll has reached at least 158,300.

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