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Northern California police department rocked by racist text message investigation

Antioch police officers are being investigated over racist text message incidents that have rocked the city, according to a report released Thursday.

In the wake of a joint FBI and local investigation into the city's police department, a judge has released an investigation report from the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office that includes partially redacted messages.

In the messages, officers allegedly used racial epithets and homophobic slurs, shared racist images, and casually talked using "less lethal" weapons on others, including the city's Black mayor.

Minorities make up most of Antioch's 114,000 residents, which is about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The messages have the potential to have a wide range of implications for cases involving the officers. In response to two of the messages being named in the messages, authorities provided the messages last week to lawyers representing four men accused of murder and other crimes.

Several hundred convictions, if not more, could be undermined by the messages, according to the attorney for one of the men.

"Right now there are people sitting in jail based on the word of these officers who've been involved in using this horribly offensive language," said Evan Kuluk, the deputy public defender for Contra Costa County. "That is an intolerable situation."

Officer Morteza Amiri told an officer from a nearby department in a message included in the investigative report dated April 29, 2020, "I sometimes just say people gave me a full confession when they didn't."

In another message, sent April 24, 2020, Sgt. Josh Evans apparently used a racist slur and threatened to bury a Black person "in my fields."

Antioch Police Department's text messages reveal the widespread racism prevalent in police departments throughout the country and how it perpetuates the unjust policing of Black people.

Source: NBC News


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