Manhattan Beach Fire Chief Dismissed Over Comments

The chief of the Manhattan Beach Fire Department has been terminated after using an “inappropriate” phrase repeatedly during a meeting of regional public safety officials.

From the Los Angeles Times:


The city released a 67-second excerpt Friday in which Drum speaks during a meeting of regional public safety officials. When and where this meeting took place is unknown, and a call to the city manager’s office was not immediately returned. According to the city manager, Drum speaks about negotiations with an external vendor when he says, “Pardon my vernacular,” then, “I think our foot … needs to be clearly on their throat, and they need to feel it, and they need to feel that constant pressure every single day that we mean business.”


He mentions a foot being on a throat three times during the clip, less than a month after a Minnesota police officer held a knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died.

Prior comments Drum made on a podcast may have also played a role in his dismissal. On June 11, Drum told the “South Bay Show” that a police officer “oftentimes doesn’t control the level of violence that comes with [an] interaction — the person that they’re in contact with is really the one in control.”

“If you comply, there is no violence. If you respond with violence, then the officer has no choice.”

Manhattan Beach Police Chief Derrick Abell will serve as the interim fire chief.