Number of Antioch PD officers involved in racist text scandal now at 45

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(BCN) — At least 45 police officers had been on chains of racist, homophobic and threatening text messages which can be half of a wider civil rights investigation into Antioch police, Contra Costa (*45*) Public Defender Ellen McDonnell instructed the Antioch City Council on Tuesday night time. McDonnell was one of dozens of individuals who spoke throughout an emotional particular assembly, at which the council informally authorized three proposals aimed at reining in and attending to the underside of Police Department practices.

McDonnell stated she noticed the text messages final week, which solely strengthened what her division has heard about Antioch police for years.

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“The community and our clients have been sounding the alarm about your police department for years and years and years, and we need immediate and full disclosure and transparency,” McDonnell stated. “People who have spoken tonight are victims of police brutality. They are victims of crimes at the hands of your police department, and we can’t downplay this issue.”

McDonnell stated 16 of the officers are in management positions, together with one from the police union and one from inside affairs, which is usually charged with investigating complaints towards police.

“This isn’t a few officers; I want to be really clear. We’ve reviewed this,” stated McDonnell, including that her workplace “will do all that we can for the victims of this police racism, this targeted violence, and the lawlessness that we’ve seen.”

Prosecutors have stated the text messages might have violated the California Racial Justice Act, a 2020 regulation barring the state from looking for or getting a felony conviction primarily based on an individual’s race, ethnicity or nationwide origin.

The council informally requested metropolis employees to refine three audit requests involving the Police Department. One would audit the division’s inside affairs course of. Another would look at its hiring and promotion course of. A 3rd would look at the division’s fairness practices and tradition.

The Antioch Police Department has been underneath investigation for civil rights violations by the FBI and the Contra Costa (*45*) District Attorney’s Office for greater than a 12 months. On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office launched a 14-page report describing racists and homophobic text messages between at least 23 officers. Some described violence towards arrestees.

At least one threatened Antioch’s Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who’s African American. At least eight officers have been suspended, one of whom is now not employed by the division. One of the stories launched Monday particulars messages between eight officers throughout a dialog about two suspects in a felony case in March 2021.

One trade exhibits officer Eric Rombough showing to brag about brutalizing a suspect throughout an arrest.

“We managed to set up a perimeter and he got his a– whooped in the back yard and I field goal kicked his head,” Rombough allegedly texted.

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“Gotta stop kicking n—— in their head,” he allegedly texted later.

Another report describes messages from 2019 and 2020, together with one from Officer John Ramirez in which he appears to encourage others to fireplace a less-lethal weapon at Thorpe throughout a protest in 2020.

Ramirez allegedly texted to 22 officers that he would “buy someone a prime rib dinner” to “40” Thorpe, a reference to a 40mm launcher utilized by the division. After protestors marched to City Hall earlier than Tuesday’s assembly, dozens instructed the council they need change.

Thorpe requested at least three folks to go away for being unruly. The council requested employees to work on the language of the three proposals to specify tips on how to conduct the audits.

Antioch resident and activist Frank Sterling identified if 45 officers had been on the text messages, that might imply roughly half the Antioch Police Department was at least conscious they had been being despatched. Estimates of the division’s dimension from officers have various in current weeks, with the very best being 99 officers.

“I just hope something can be done,” Sterling stated.

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc.

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