Earlier this month, we reported that a Contra Costa County judge released the names of 17 Antioch, California, police officers accused of using racial slurs, making racist jokes and sharing racist memes in text threads over a period of two years. Now, the Antioch Police Department is facing an audit by the Antioch City Council to see just how deep the bigotry runs among public servants who are tasked with protecting and serving citizens, including Black civilians whom many of them appear to have a lot of contempt for.
From NBC Bay Area:
Angry residents crowded City Hall on Tuesday evening as the Antioch City Council unanimously approved audits of the department’s internal affairs unit, its hiring and promotional practices and of department culture. Officials have named 17 officers who sent text messages, including the president of the Antioch police union, although Contra Costa County’s public defender said that nearly half of the 100-officer department was included in the text chains.
Defense attorney Ellen McDonnell has asked District Attorney Diana Becton to dismiss all cases involving the public defender’s office and Antioch police. Becton said she is reviewing cases for potential dismissal or resentencing. It’s unclear how many cases are at stake.
“The public simply cannot have trust or confidence in any criminal prosecution involving the Antioch Police Department,” McDonnell said in an email Wednesday. “No one should be charged with a crime based on the report of a police department so thoroughly riddled with corruption.”
The incendiary text messages, which were heavily redacted, contain derogatory, racist, homophobic and sexually explicit language. Officers brag about making up evidence and beating up suspects. They refer to women as water buffalo, share photos of gorillas, freely use racial slurs and make light of the police killing of George Floyd in 2020.
OK, so, I’m not saying I’m some kind of prophet or anything, but I did write in our previous report that while the exact contents of the texts hadn’t been revealed, “a bigot with a badge could probably fill their entire photo gallery with racist George Floyd memes alone.” Of course, predicting that racist cops made light of Floyd’s death is like throwing a rock in the air and predicting it will come back down.
As far as McDonnell requesting that D.A. dismiss cases brought by Antioch police, there’s good reason for that besides the general racism of cops. Some of the Klan-ish text messages indicate that cops intentionally targeted Black people for traffic citations.
More from NBC:
In September 2020, two officers agreed by text to write a large number of traffic citations by targeting a specific group in a specific area. A male officer referred to Black people by a racist slur and said authorities should make them “eat s—.” A female officer responded, “Yes that will be easy. And it will be a good time lol start off quick with the numbers.”
Just think of all the times Black folk have complained about cops pulling them over because they’re Black only to have “back the blue” America (*gestures widely toward a strong majority of white folks*) roll their eyes and declare that “everything isn’t about race.”
It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t even the first time in the last decade that more than a dozen Bay Area police officers have been caught going full Mark Furhman in text threads they likely didn’t expect anyone outside of their little KKKop circle to see. According to NBC, “In 2015, then-San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr moved to fire or discipline 14 officers involved in trading racist text messages.”
Maybe, when it comes to cops, the expression should be, “It’s only a few good apples.” Just saying.
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