Activist targeted in Antioch PD texting scandal threatens to sue: 'I feel very violated'

We have to warn you, this story contains graphic language.

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Woman targeted in Antioch PD texting scandal threatens to sue
A woman targeted in the Antioch police texting scandal threatens to file a lawsuit against the department.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- The fallout from the Antioch Police Department texting scandal continues which includes threats of lawsuits from some of the people allegedly targeted by police in those text chains.

The racist and homophobic texts messages were revealed by the Contra Costa District Attorney's office based on information that was uncovered from an on-going FBI investigation into the department over a series of alleged misconduct.

One community activist who was singled out in the report is raising concerns over continued stereotyping of the Arab and Muslim communities.

We have to warn you, this story contains graphic language.

"I have organized where the police were there, ever since, probably middle school. I've seen the police officers, I know those exact police officers," says Antioch resident Shagoofa Khan. "And to know that they were sexualizing me and being very racist, not just towards me but community members, is horrifying."

MORE: Contra Costa Co. public defender requests pending cases involving Antioch PD to be dropped

Six years ago, Khan was named Antioch's 2017 Youth Leader of the Year. Last week, she was identified as a target in a 21-page report detailing the numerous text chains.

The report states that Sergeant Josh Evans texted, "Shagoofa looks like an arabian nights c*m dumpster. (sic)"

"What these officers have not only done to me, but the community members, I feel very violated and traumatized. So, I do feel unsafe in this city," says Khan.

Khan, who graduated from UC Berkeley, was born in the U.S. to a Muslim family of Pakistani and Afghan descent. She admits to having encounters with the police. She was arrested twice over her activism, but cleared of all charges. Still, she claims that text messages prove that her background makes her a target.

"It sucks that we are straightforwardly exampled as a terrorist because of the color of our skin. And when I read those text messages from the police officers, that essentially the mentality that they have. That I am a 'domestic terrorist,'" she says.

"The anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bias that is demonstrated in the targeting of Shagoofa Khan is, first and foremost, inaccurate because she is not an Arab-American. But also, reminiscent of how federal law enforcement will treat our communities as all the same, all 'terrorists,' all potentially violent," says Zahra Billoo, the Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

VIDEO: 'Disgusting': Alleged Antioch PD racist texts addressed as tensions flare at 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.

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

She says as a civil rights group, they are concerned about the Antioch PD texting scandal, but also over continuing stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims.

After years of fighting surveillance of mosques and issues like President Trump's travel ban, groups like CAIR are concerned that of the portrayal of Muslims nationally continues to impacting law enforcement locally.

"We have worked for a long time to disentangle federal and local enforcement, because local law enforcement would tell us, 'We are different.' What stories like this one and the targeting of Shagoofa Khan show us is that they may not be that different at all," explains Billoo.

MORE: 40% of Antioch police force likely involved in alleged racist texting scandal, public defender says

Contra Costa County public defender says 40% of Antioch police force are likely involved in the alleged racist texting scandal.

Khan says she is not anti-police, yet continues to face harassment from people saying that she is. She now plans to file a lawsuit against the Antioch Police Department.

"Especially towards the Middle Eastern community when talking about 'domestic terrorism.' We are seen as targets. We are easy targets. And usually we don't speak up. Which is why I am so passionate about speaking out about injustices in these local communities. Because if we don't change it, who will?," says Khan.

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