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DA Releases Report Detailing Alleged Antioch Police Racist Texts

An investigative report detailing alleged racist texts involving Antioch police officers was released to the public Thursday by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

The redacted investigative report was made available after some of the messages were “obtained and distributed beyond the parties of a criminal case,” the DA’s office said.

“I condemn – in the strongest possible terms – the racially abhorrent content and incomprehensible behavior being attributed to members of the Antioch Police Department in media reports,” Antioch police Chief Steve Ford said in a statement released after the DA’s report was made available. “I have taken immediate action to ensure a thorough investigation by an external independent entity is conducted and the community is not exposed to any individuals under question from this reporting.”

The text messages were uncovered as part of an FBI investigation into other possible crimes by police.

A superior court judge on April 7 released the names of the involved officers – among them was the president of the Antioch police union.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe has also called for an independent audit of the internal affairs process.

“The culture of the Antioch Police Department is a problem,” Thorpe recently said. “The culture of the department requires further exploration, including how the hell all this alleged misconduct could go on for so long without anyone on command staff noticing.”

Contra Costa County Public Defender Ellen McDonnell said thousands of past and current criminal cases could be impacted or overturned as a result of the alleged racist text messages sent by Antioch police.

“It’s deeply concerning and troubling,” McDonnell said in a recent interview with NBC Bay Area. “It goes to an entrenched culture of racism and homophobia in the Antioch Police Department.”

Michael Rains, an attorney representing the officers, has asked the public to stay neutral until the content and context are revealed. He also points out sometimes officers say or repeat things they do not mean during stressful situations.

“The only thing I ask everybody to do is not to jump to conclusions that anything is true and that all of it is true or that none of it is true – how do we know?” Rains said in a recent interview with NBC Bay Area. “It should be a thorough, fair investigation that everybody has faith and trust in if the officers committed misconduct. I think you got a police chief in Antioch that is going to make that finding and is going to take what type of discipline the law calls for anywhere up to and including terminations.”

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