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Multiple peace officers from the Antioch Police Department found guilty of racists text messages

By ONME Newswire


OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced May10, 2023 that they are initiating a civil rights investigation into the Antioch Police Department (APD). The investigation will seek to determine whether the law enforcement agency has engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing amid deeply concerning allegations relating to bigoted text messages and other potentially discriminatory misconduct. If, through this investigation, the Attorney General’s Office determines that unlawful activity or practices took place, the office will also determine what potential actions are needed to ensure comprehensive corrective action takes place at APD.

“It is our job to protect and serve all of our communities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Police departments are on the front lines of that fight every day as they work to safeguard the people of our state. However, where there are allegations of potentially pervasive bias or discrimination, it can undermine the trust that is critical for public safety and our justice system. It is our responsibility to ensure that we establish a culture of accountability, professionalism, and zero tolerance for hateful or racist behavior, on or off duty.”


On April 19, 2023, FOX KTVU reported that there had been a joint investigation conducted by the FBI and the Contra Costa County DA's office started in early 2022. At the time, prosecutors said they were conducting an investigation into Antioch and Pittsburg police departments for a "broad range of offenses."

The Contra Costa County DA’s office said the investigation into the officers’ alleged misconduct involved "crimes of moral turpitude."

Contra Costa County District Attorney's office that show rampant racist, sexist and other derogatory comments sent by Antioch police, as well as officers bragging about injuring suspects during violent confrontations, according to the news station.

The messages suggested that the police were complicit in potential abuses of authority, civil rights violations, perjury, and other incidents that "may have violated the Racial Justice Act." At the time, the three officers in question were put on paid administrative leave until the outcome was confirmed. However, an anonymous report said that there were several peace officers involved in illegal activity. During the investigation on the officers involved in illegal activity, the racist texts were found amongst several Antioch police officers. In fact, APD presently has 99 sworn officers and 45 of them are named in the DA's report for sending or receiving offensive texts, including the president of the city's police union, Rick Hoffman. Some text messages purposely infringed in investigations against Black people, so that officers could cover up their dirty deeds.

 

See racist texts messages here


Terryon-Pugh-Redacted-Investigative-Report
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Download PDF • 1.09MB

Disclosure-Report-CCCDAO-and-Court-Ordered-Redactions
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Download PDF • 1.97MB

 

Under the California Constitution and California Civil Code section 52.3, the Attorney General is authorized to conduct civil investigations into whether a law enforcement agency has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating state or federal law. As opposed to a criminal investigation into an individual incident or incidents, a pattern or practice investigation typically works to identify and, as appropriate, compel the correction of systemic violations of the constitutional rights of the community at large by a law enforcement agency. With regard to the Antioch Police Department, the Attorney General has made no determinations at this time about specific complaints, allegations, or the agency’s overall policies and practices. The Attorney General’s independent investigation of APD is separate from ongoing or potential administrative or criminal investigations at the local and federal levels.


Attorney General Bonta also established the Racial Justice Bureau within the Civil Rights Enforcement Section to, among other things, help address issues of implicit and explicit bias in policing.


In February 2022, Dr. Steven A. Ford was introduced by Mayor Lamar Thorpe as the news interim police chief for the Antioch Police Department--he has no knowledge prior to the investigation of these racists texts.

Dr. Ford, Ed.D, M.S., B.S., who recently retired from the San Francisco Police Department as a Commander, grew up in one of San Francisco’s crimeridden and gang-infested communities, notoriously known at the time as the Ingleside-Oceanview district. His law enforcement background spans thirty-one plus years with the San Francisco Police Department and has included assignments in Operations, Investigations, Administration, Special Operations Homeland Security, and Professional Standards-Strategic Management Bureaus. Dr. Ford currently serves as faculty at San Francisco City College and San Francisco State University, where he instructs administration of justice courses and course work in the MPA program.

Dr. Ford holds an Associate of Sciences Degree from San Francisco City College, a Bachelor of Science Degree from San Francisco State University, a Master of Science Degree from California State University-Long Beach, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College-California. Chief Ford has attended the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute, Robert Presley Institute of Criminal Investigations, California POST Command College, California Police Chiefs Executive Leadership Institute at Drucker-Claremont Graduate University, POST Executive Development, San Francisco Leadership S.F. Chamber of Commerce, and San Francisco Police Department Leadership Development Institute.


Dr. Ford has agreed to comply with complete transparency regarding this shocking news regarding these police officers under his leadership.


As interaction and cooperation with the community is at the core of law enforcement’s work to provide public safety and create public trust, the Attorney General encourages anyone with information relevant to this investigation to contact the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section at Police-Practices@doj.ca.gov. Members of the public may also send information to the California Department of Justice in other languages. During the course of the investigation, attorneys and special agents at the California Department of Justice will work diligently to consider all relevant information, including from community members and organizations, local officials, oversight entities, Antioch Police Department, and individual officers.


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