Santa Clara DA Tosses ‘Tainted’ Criminal Cases after ‘Bigoted’ Former San Jose Cop Texts Series of Racist Messages

By Crescenzo Vellucci
The Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief

SAN JOSE, CA – A former San Jose police officer—who became involved in a racist texting scandal where he said he hated “Black people” and belittled women, gay people and Asian people—is the reason the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is dismissing five criminal cases.

In a letter made public this week after being sent to defense lawyers, the DA said the former cop had “tainted” the credibility of the police investigations. In all, the office said it reviewed 54 arrests. Earlier the office tossed 13 other cases.

“In November of 2023, a news story revealed that disgraced, former officer (Mark) McNamara had sent a series of virulently racist text messages. While the investigation is ongoing concerning further potential text messages, we had learned enough already to conclude that he is a bigoted man, a disgrace to public service, and we do not trust him,” said the DA in the letter.

The letter concerning McNamara, who resigned in November after an internal San Jose Police Department investigation, said he was behind “a series of virulently racist text messages.”

McNamara was never prosecuted.

“We think this is extraordinarily important,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in an interview Tuesday with the Mercury-News, adding, “Fairness is at the heart of the criminal justice system. Racism affects the community’s confidence that every arrest and conviction was fair.”

The letter added that the DA “decided that even though the evidence of McNamara’s bigotry came after these cases…we would assume that he held the same beliefs at the time of the older case. Furthermore, we did not limit this inquiry to cases where the defendant was a certain race. Instead, we decided that his bigotry made him untrustworthy irrespective of the race or ethnicity or gender of the defendant or victim.”

The letter continued, saying “in most cases the race or ethnicity of victim and perpetrator are the same. A grave threat of a bigoted police officer is both towards individuals he may unfairly target for excessive enforcement but also to victims whom he may belittle. Therefore, we would not compound McNamara’s bigotry by discounting the evidence and testimony of our victims who are predominantly people of color. Nonetheless, if the case relied upon his evidence, we will dismiss the case.”

The Mercury-News, in its Tuesday reporting, said, “Among McNamara’s more egregious texts — exchanged with an active SJPD officer currently on administrative leave and a former department officer — were remarks that insulted a Black man McNamara shot and wounded in 2022.

“McNamara also made casual threats toward the attorneys representing the man in a federal excessive-force lawsuit against the city. Other messages revealed in court documents mocked and belittled women, gay people and Asian people.”

“There’s a difference between someone standing around at a crime scene and someone doing something we’re relying on,” Rosen said to the Mercury-News. “That’s the balance we’re trying to establish. One thing we wanted to be careful about is dismissing a case where all (McNamara) did was take a statement. That would cause a victim to suffer.”

Molly O’Neal, the county’s chief public defender, has charged more cases should be thrown out.

“Any case this racist cop was involved in should be dismissed,” she said. “There’s no such thing as tangential involvement. Any involvement is meaningful. … The way they ask questions of witnesses, the way they write up a report, it all influences the outcome of a case. You have to remove the cancer completely.”

The Mercury-News reported, “McNamara left the SJPD in November after an unrelated internal criminal investigation — which did not yield charges — unearthed the trove of offensive messages sent between March 2022 and July 2023.

“The texts included his stating, ‘I hate black people’ and ‘I hate black people more than I hate being a cop.’ Among more than 300 text messages were about five dozen in which McNamara used the N-word to refer to Black people; the people with whom he was messaging also used the word in replies to him.”

The newspaper added, “What made the messages even more egregious were several direct references to K’aun Green, who McNamara shot in the early morning hours of March 27, 2022, in what became an infamous case because Green had been a peacemaker in a brawl that erupted inside (an eatery)…Green had been holding a handgun he took from someone else up in the air and backing out of the restaurant, while keeping the weapon away from two people in the fight, when he was shot.”

McNamara reportedly shared several texts after he killed Green, including, “N— wanted to carry a gun in the Wild West … Not on my watch.” And, “They should all be bowing to me and bringing me gifts since I saved a fellow n— by making him rich as f—. Otherwise, he woulda lived a life of poverty and crime.” And, McNamara referred to Green’s attorney using the N-word and in the same message said “I’ll shoot you too too!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!”

The Mercury-News reports, the “identities of the current and former SJPD officers that McNamara corresponded with have not been publicly released either by the city or Green’s attorneys, who received the information under court order.

“However, the police department has confirmed that the active officer was put on leave and that the former officer was severed from his out-of-state police job after that unnamed agency was alerted to the texting scandal.”

ALSO SEE:

Civil Rights Attorney Details Racist and Threatening Texts from San Jose Police Officer

Scandal Widens in Case Involving San Jose Cop Who Texted ‘I Hate Black People’

San Jose Police Officer’s Racist Text Messages Shed New Light on Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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