Bay Area NAACP chapter demands accountability following Antioch PD texting scandal

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
NAACP, Contra Costa Co. DA meet over Antioch PD texting scandal
Bay Area NAACP is demanding accountability following the Antioch police racist texting scandal exposed in an FBI investigation.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Members of the East County chapter of the NAACP, which includes Antioch, are demanding accountability following the Antioch police texting scandal exposed in two reports published by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office.

Members of the group met with Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and her staff for an hour on Tuesday.

RELATED: 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.

"It was big deal. We are very grateful for her to step up and try to respond to us and the community," says Dr. Kimberly Payton, Vice President of the East County branch. "Just knowing that, even a few years ago, even if this kind of complaint had came forward, it may not have reached this level."

Dr. Payton says part of the discussion centered around the actual investigation. She says they were told that despite the racist text messages, racism, in and of itself, may not be a crime - unless acted upon.

Payton says their concern isn't just about possible racist attitudes but how that could impact an officer's ability to investigate.

"So Diana Becton's office is looking into the criminal side of things. The HR side of things, which would be the hate piece, that falls back on the city of Antioch. And their protocols of how they reprimand their officers, because after all, that hiring and firing rests with them," explains Payton.

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.

Before the meeting with the DA's office, members held a press conference at the Antioch Police Department to raise their concerns.

Kathryn Wade spoke about what police texted regarding her son, Malad Baldwin, who was mentioned in the DA's reports.

"This is one part of the text messages about my son," said Wade, holding up a poster of the text messages sent about her son. "When you talk about holding his legs and beating him in his private parts! This is from the police! This is police discussing this!"

An FBI investigation into the Antioch Police Department over alleged misconduct uncovered a chain of racist, sexist and homophobic text messages sent by police officers over a period of almost two years.

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

According to the city, close to 20 percent of the police department is now on paid leave. But up to 40 percent of the entire police force may have been involved, according to the data from the Contra Costa County Public Defender's office.

Dr. Payton says they understand that the investigation will take time. But in the end, they don't want officers who are convicted to be allowed to remain in law enforcement.

"This has been a long time coming. The communities of Pittsburg and Antioch have been plagued with just the disease of just dysfunctional police behaving really badly. So, we are really glad that this is finally coming to light," says Dr. Payton.

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