As the Antioch Police Department faces a slew of allegations of wrongdoing from distributing cocaine, to accepting bribes, to having a trove of racist text messages recently exposed, two Bay Area congressional reps are calling for a Department of Justice investigation.
Over in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County, the Antioch Police Department was already under heavy fire for what KPIX describes as a now six-month-old “FBI investigation into the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments, alleging officers were distributing cocaine and steroids, accepting bribes, intentionally using excessive force, and violating people's civil rights.”
There's more. That FBI investigation led to the uncovering of a trove of racist texts among officers, which led Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe to go ballistic, considering that one of the police text messages reportedly said "I'll buy someone a prime rib if they take that *bleep* Mayor Thorpe out, with a whatever type of weapon."
The department is already under investigation by the FBI and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office over this myriad of ugly, alleged offenses. And now two East Bay members of Congress are asking for a Department of Justice investigation into the force, according to KTVU.
In a joint statement, East Bay Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield) decried how the exposed texts “reveal disturbing images shared between the officers of citizens they have assaulted in hospital beds, and alarming comments and photos depicting and referencing African Americans as gorillas and monkeys." They add that “From this report, we know that at least 45 officers are involved in the specific text messages referenced, which is over half of the total 99 sworn officers currently employed by the Antioch Police Department.”
The two congressional representatives asked for a response from the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland by May 5.
If you really want to dig through the dregs of what is said in these racist text messages, KQED has a PDF of the messages that have come to light thus far. But to give you a broad sense, the Bay Area News Group rounded up a few lowlights, which they say “contain references to Black people as ‘gorillas,’ ‘monkeys’ and ‘water buffalo’ and numerous homophobic slurs,” including “I’ll bury that n—-r in my fields” followed by “And yes….it was a hard R on purpose,” plus other promises to “make these n—as eat s—,” and one officer writing of policing a Black neighborhood as “I feel like I’m at the zoo.”
Image: @AntiochPolice via Twitter