New report reveals Antioch officers referred to police chief as 'gorilla' in text messages

"It's a disgusting situation. I have no other words to describe how disappointed and disgusted I am."

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Antioch officers referred to police chief as 'gorilla' in texts: DA
A new 128-page Contra Costa County District Attorney's report reveals Antioch officers referred to Police Chief Steven Ford as a "gorilla."

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- A new 128-page report put out by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office reveals more racist texts sent by Antioch police officers involved in the department's texting scandal.

This time, however, the racist texts aren't just directed at suspects, but at Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford as well.

On March 7, 2022, Officer Jonathan Adams writes: "Have you met the new (gorilla emoji) chief yet?"

EXCLUSIVE: Antioch police chief calls texting scandal 'hate speech;' open to federal oversight

Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford responds to texting scandal, saying "without question this is hate speech."

"For me, I don't take that kind of stuff personal. I know who I am. I know what I stand for. And that's enough for me," says Chief Ford. "It's essentially the same group of people, still spewing the same hate speech and hate rhetoric."

The texts were uncovered in an ongoing FBI investigation into the police department.

Like the previous two D.A. reports, the texts contain racist language, homophobic slurs and racist tropes against Muslims and Jews. Some of the texts even demonstrate how officers used racial profiling while out on patrol.

On July 14, 2021, Officer Eric Rombough writes: "I'm really good at racial profiling." Officer Jonathan Adams responds: "I'm a trained expert. Learned from the best in the business."

"It's a disgusting situation. I have no other words to describe how disappointed and disgusted I am," says Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who read news reports about the latest report. "(I) read enough up until the chief was described as a gorilla. And that was enough in terms of what I needed to see."

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

Mayor Thorpe says he spoke to Chief Ford over the weekend. Thorpe has continually called for the officers involved, which is up to 40 percent of the entire police department, to be fired. He says the FBI's investigation is all the evidence that is needed.

In another text from Officer Rombough on November 21, 2021, he writes: "I'm only stopping them cuz they are black. F**k them. Kill each other."

"These officers have no business being in law enforcement to begin with. I have said this before and I will continue to say it, I said to the chief yesterday: all these officers need to be fired immediately. We don't need racists in our police department. We need to move on from this. This is costing the city a lot of money. It is costing taxpayers a lot of money," says Thorpe.

Frank Sterling is an Antioch resident and community activist with the group Reimagine Antioch. He sued Antioch P.D. for excessive use of force and won. He says more can be done as the investigation continues.

RELATED: Civil rights investigation launched into Antioch PD for alleged racist texts, excessive force

"We want the officers fired and we also want them decertified, so they can't just jump to another department," says Sterling. "We also want the Antioch Police Officer Association disbanded, as the president of the Antioch Police Officers Association, Rick Hoffman, is a main factor in these text messages."

Last week, the California Department of Justice, which has launched its own investigation into Antioch P.D., met with city staff and the police department, including Chief Ford.

Ford says a blueprint is being put in place on how to revamp and rebuild the organization.

"I am very, very bothered by what I am seeing, and hearing. But I am also very encouraged because, this organization as we speak, is on the road to recovery," said Ford. "This is not the same organization it was 18 months ago before I got here."

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