'Disgusting': Alleged Antioch PD racist texts addressed as tensions flare at city council meeting

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Alleged racist police texts addressed at Antioch City Council meeting
At least two people had to be escorted out of the meeting after a back-and-forth with the Antioch mayor over the alleged racist and homophobic text messages of around two dozen police officers.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Tuesday night at least two people had to be escorted out of an Antioch City Council special meeting after a back-and-forth with the city's mayor.

The meeting was held in response to around two dozen Antioch police officers who are now in question over alleged racist and homophobic text messages.

VIDEO: Antioch mayor addresses officers' racist texts; calls for special meeting to examine APD culture

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe addresses racist, homophobic police text messages and calls for special meeting to examine APD culture.

During public comment, someone called for an investigation into Mayor Lamar Thorpe. That man then talked about what he believes is a positive change in culture at the Antioch Police Department in recent months.

Seconds later there was a back-and-forth between the mayor and that community member with the mayor saying, "I am sick and tired of being attacked by these people in this community apologizing for the racism going on in this community. You're the problem! You're the problem!"

During the special meeting residents and public officials commented on alleged racist and homophobic text messages sent between some Antioch Police Officers.

"It's disgusting, it's vile, and we're not going to tolerate this," said one woman.

RELATED: Antioch police chief called to discuss impact of FBI investigation on staffing

"That put a hurt on me!" said another woman.

"What is happening? I can't believe it. It is disgusting. It is more than disgusting," said one man.

"They have no business being in law enforcement," said a woman.

"To all the other officers involved using racist terms and calling Black people by derogatory terms, it's too much," said one woman.

The texts, part of an FBI and District Attorney investigation, have not been made public.

VIDEO: Mayor wants audit of Antioch PD after judge releases officer names involved in alleged misconduct

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe called for an independent audit of the police department's internal affairs process.

Our media partner The Mercury News obtained a report containing the texts, in which officers used slurs and made light of national cases involving police violence.

During Tuesday's meeting Mayor Thorpe addressed the text messages and vowed to make changes.

"This is in their heart, this is in their heart, Mayor Thorpe said. "It's not just 17 individuals we're talking about, we're talking about 24. I'm not sweeping it under the rug. We're not gonna do that. They may get upset. The institution and status quo may get upset but I'm not hiding behind it, this is what it is and we got to deal with it."

There is uncertainty about how many officers are implicated in the report. Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford addressed the issue at hand, saying officers who may have been involved here are not currently on patrol.

"There's a lot of good officers who work in the Antioch Police Department who work hard every day," Chief Ford said. "That's one thing I noticed when I came here from San Francisco after 32 years, is the dedication that these officers have to the profession so I'm not going to indict the entire organization. Let's be clear, this is unfortunate. Let's not gloat in this, this is very, very unfortunate to the city, this organization, and this profession."

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