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Security Heightened After Council Members Threatened


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By Jorge Casuso

January 24, 2024 -- The Police Department beefed up security at Tuesday night's City Council meeting after three Councilmembers received death threats, according to several sources familiar with the situation.

Mayor Phil Brock, Mayor pro tem Lana Negrete and an undisclosed Councilmember received the anonymous calls hours before the meeting, Brock said. A fourth Councilmember also received a call threatening one of the three colleagues.

"There was some gibberish and laughing, I got your phone number etcetera," Brock said of the call he received on his cell phone. "The person called back incessantly."

Brock said he was attending a remote conference and his partner, Kathryn Boole, answered the phone. "They threatened my life and her life," he said.

Brock reported the threat to City officials and an alert was sent out Tuesday afternoon.

"If you’re planning to attend tonight’s City Council meeting, you will notice some enhanced security measures in place." the alert said.

"These actions are being implemented for tonight’s meeting out of an abundance of caution following anonymous threats received by several council members."

The Police Department heightened security at the meeting by posting additional officers and using a metal detector to check those entering the Council chambers, said Lt. Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.

"We instituted access control at City Hall, including additional police resources," Aklufi said. "Anyone who wanted to go into council chambers had to undergo screening with a hand-held metal detector wand."

The additional officers were posted both inside and outside the Council chambers, Brock said. All seven Council members were escorted by officers from their cars before the meeting and back when they left.

"Squad cars were scattered across the premises," Brock said. "Santa Monica City staff and police were fantastic."

Brock said he "wasn't overly concerned," adding, "it's sad that that happened."

He said it is possible the City could explore increasing security at Council meetings, including the use of metal detectors, which are used at meetings of the LA County Board of Supervisors.

"It's not only us," he said. "It's just a symptom of the times and the discord that exists in government everywhere. We don't want anyone being threatened."

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