Protests Erupt When a Report Details Racist Text Messages Exchanged by Antioch

Antioch, California residents took to the streets on Tuesday to protest the department’s handling of a report detailing racist text messages received between certain police and members of the public. The Antioch Police Department had 17 officers implicated in a report by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office for allegedly sending or receiving racist text messages in 2020 and 2021.

The messages included references to Black people and the n-word, as well as images of gorillas. The n-word was found to be “commonly used” in one text message conversation, according to the investigation. According to the investigation, there is widespread talk among the patrol members in the texts about abusing civilians.

From March 2021, a cop boasts to a bystander that he “field goal kicked” the head of a detainee and “tried to knock him unconscious.” The prosecutor’s office conducted an investigation with the FBI “regarding crimes of moral turpitude and criminal offenses” among current and former officers, according to the partially redacted report issued in two parts late last month and released last week.

Report on Racist Messages Sent Among Antioch
Report on Racist Messages Sent Among Antioch

The released documents did not specify what prompted the investigation. CNN has attempted to contact 14 of the 17 officers included in the article for comment, but has so far been unsuccessful in doing so. Almost 20% of the Antioch police force allegedly provided or received the obscene material in issue, according to city officials, as reported by CNN affiliate KGO.

Follow these resources for daily updates and insights into California’s ever-changing news cycle:

However, Contra Costa County public defender Ellen McDonnell told the publication that she believes 40 percent of the 99-person force may have sent or received inappropriate texts. Chief Steven Ford of the Antioch Police Department released a statement to CNN in which he denounced, “the racially abhorrent content and incomprehensible behavior being attributed to members of the Antioch Police Department in media reports.”

“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,” he said.

On behalf of our organization, I apologize to the Antioch Community for the hurt caused by this hateful speech. I promise to hold accountable the officers expressing racist or bigoted beliefs, biased insensitivity, and those boasting about harming members of the community.”

According to a Facebook post, five community groups organized Tuesday’s protest to demand that city officials take action against abusive officers by firing and decertifying them, prosecuting all civil rights violations, and conducting a full audit of the Antioch Police Department’s internal affairs department.

“It’s just really disturbing stuff to know that’s how they view the people of Antioch,” Jose Cordona, a protester, told KGO. “How could you ever treat a person humanely as a human if you don’t even see them as one?”

This demonstration, staged in a city about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, is one of many that have taken place around the country in recent years in response to racial discrimination and police violence.

The California Examiner is a great source of California-related news and material on Twitter.

Scroll to Top