LBPD response to a wellness check of homeless, undressed children draws scrutiny on TikTok
The Long Beach Police Department faces scrutiny after a TikTok user posted a video detailing how the police didn’t view an apparent homeless family consisting of two half-naked children playing on the sidewalk as “child endangerment.”
TikTok user Marissa Castañeda posted the video on Sunday, June 12, and have since been stitched, shared, and commented on by multiple people.
Many users have massively criticized the Long Beach Police Department’s handling of the wellness check, and others have led conversations about the disparity in the way the police respond to wellness checks for communities of color.
The video displays a picture of a homeless family panhandling, and Castañeda narrates her interaction with the family and her reaction to the LBPD’s response.
Castañeda says she stopped her car and talked to the parents. During their interaction, she says she offered clothes and diapers. She asked, “What’s going on with your children? Where are their clothes?”
She mentioned that the children had “scratches all over their feet,” that one of the kids had a “full diaper” and both had dark feet.
What she’s saying: Castañeda told the Modern Times that the father was holding a sign that read, ‘stranded’. She inquired about his unclothed children. She says he replied, “They just took their clothes off and [they] don’t want to put their clothes back on, and they had diapers in their car.”
Castañeda mentioned she has “no respect” for the LBPD “because they didn’t see this as child endangerment and let them go.”
In another video, Castañeda said she called LA County’s Department of Children and Family Services, but the agency responded, “If you could not provide an address, there is really nothing we can do.”
Long Beach Police Department spokesperson Richard Mejia told the Modern Times via email, “Officers were flagged down by a citizen,” on the 2200 block of Bellflower Boulevard regarding a “wellness check of a family.”
Mejia says the officers made contact with the family after a “preliminary investigation.” The officer determined the children were safe and “in good health—and subsequently offered the family resources and services."