Report: Judge Names Antioch Police Officers – Including Cop Union Chief – Accused of Using Racist Slurs on Social Media


By The Vanguard Staff

ANTIOCH, CA – A judge in Contra Costa County late Friday released the identities of 17 Antioch Police Dept. officers—including the president of the police union—accused of using racist slurs over social media in the past several years, according to a report in the Mercury News.

Five officers are already under investigation by the FBI for alleged crimes, the Mercury News said.

Judge Clare Maier also named 11 other Antioch officers, “at least eight of whom have been put on leave over the group texts, which reportedly included frequent use of racial slurs as well as racist memes,” according to the Mercury News.

The judge, quoted in the Mercury News, said the messages were so offensive it could “incite further hate or racial animus” and “information about the texts — and the identities of the officers involved — ‘doesn’t deserve protection under the California evidence code.’” 

The same news report said the judge did not disclose accusations against individual officers, but “generally categorized the content as ‘deeply disturbing’ and targeting ‘members of the Black and Hispanic community.’”

The Mercury News account listed as one of those named Rick Hoffman, president of the Antioch Police Association, a frequent critic of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, a police-reform advocate,  noting “Hoffman was among the officers placed on leave over the texts, according to multiple Antioch law enforcement officials.”

“(I)f that’s what they’re doing (making racist and homophobic texts), I don’t want them here. We’ll go through some challenges because of staffing. Absolutely,” said Thorpe to the Mercury News, while Police Chief Steven Ford did not respond to a request for comment.

The Mercury News wrote, “The existence of the text messages became known last month as a result of an ongoing federal probe into Antioch and Pittsburg police officers, but Friday’s developments made clear just how many officers are involved in both scandals plaguing APD.

“The FBI — which is investigating alleged fraud, bribery, drug distribution and civil rights violations related to the use of force — found the messages after agents served search warrants on a number of officers’ homes and showed up at the police department to seize phones and other personal items.”

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton released a statement Friday acknowledging Maier’s ruling but limited her comments, citing the ongoing criminal investigation, according to the Mercury News, which wrote, “It will be up to the courts to decide whether the officers’ texts justify dismissing charges against the people they were investigating,” but “as a result of the FBI probe, dozens of federal and state cases have been dismissed.”

In a statement published by the Mercury News, civil rights attorney Adante Pointer said, “I’ve had my eye on Antioch for a long time. This is proof-positive what people who have been watching Antioch already knew — that it is full of officers who do not deserve to wear the badge. It’s no wonder why the public has lost faith in law enforcement and why we see Black and Brown people overrepresented in the criminal justice system when the people administering it are racist.”

The Mercury News notes Antioch, with about 100,000 population, was once about 65 percent white but now is only 39 percent white. Latinos make up about 34.5 percent and the Black population has increased from 10 to 20 percent over the past two decades.

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