ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- As the investigation into the Antioch Police Department continues to grow, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D- Walnut Creek) and John Garamendi (D-Richmond) have written to the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a formal investigation.
"We've got a very urgent situation in Antioch, right now, and the Department of Justice has to be part of the solution," says Representative DeSaulnier. "And be aware that, right at this moment, we have some real constitutional issues and some public safety issues, and some racism, that we have to address immediately."
This comes after published reports reveal of a chain of racist, misogynistic and homophobic text messages sent by Antioch police officers over period of almost two years. According to the Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office, close to 40 percent of the entire police force may have been involved.
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DeSaulnier gave the DOJ until May 5 to respond, but he adds it won't end there. He says he will reach out to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. And, request a meeting with Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford.
"This type of racism in these kinds of professions is a very large warning sign to me, and it should be to every American," says DeSaulnier.
Odessa Lefrancois is President of the East County chapter of the NAACP, which includes Antioch. She supports a DOJ Investigation.
"The more eyes, the more things we can see. We don't want to miss anything. This is an opportunity to right some wrongs, that have been wrong for a long time," she says.
Lefrancois is even calling for federal oversight of the Antioch PD.
RELATED: 'Disgusting': Alleged Antioch PD racist texts addressed as tensions flare at city council meeting
East County will join two other East Bay chapters of the NAACP on Tuesday for a meeting with Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton to present their concerns.
"It's one thing to be falsely accused of a crime. A second thing is for the legal system to victimize you once they know a wrong has been committed, to be able to correct that wrong," explains Lefrancois.
Lefrancois says they have received numerous complaints about Antioch police officers over the past few years. They even held meetings with previous police chiefs, but were told that there was not enough documentation for their claims.
With release of the D.A.'s two reports documenting the text messages, Lefrancois believes this time will be different.
"So to actually see them put this in writing, I am mean I think to us and to the nation, that just shows us what people really think about the black and brown community," she says.
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