(KRON) — In an open letter to Antioch Police Chief Dr. Steve Ford, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe asked that all the officers involved in sending racist text messages be terminated immediately. Mayor Thorpe also requested the decommissioning of “the tank,” a surplus military vehicle from the Iraq War used by Antioch PD.
“I strongly believe that Antioch residents deserve a police department that every segment of Antioch’s racially diverse community can trust,” Thorpe wrote. “In order for us to get there, as well as beginning the healing process, the immediate termination of officers who violated the public’s trust by displaying racism is required.”
Two explosive reports released earlier this year by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office revealed egregiously racist text messages sent and received between Antioch PD officers. In the texts, Black people were referred to as “zoo” and “circus” animals, and by other derogatory, racist terms.
A total of 17 Antioch PD officers were implicated in the reports. Following their release, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has initiated a civil rights investigation into the department, and Rev. Al Sharpton has called on the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the case.
In addition to asking that the officers implicated in the texts be dismissed, Thorpe also said he would “seek the support” of his colleagues to decommission “the tank.”
“Also known as the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle,” Thorpe wrote. “The MRAP was designed specifically for the War in Iraq so that U.S. soldiers could withstand improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. To date, there have been no such reported attacks or threats in the city of Antioch.”
“The tank sends the wrong message to our community and absolutely sends the wrong message to prospective police office candidates,” Thorpe added.
The mayor also wrote that he would seek to bar members of the Antioch Police Officers Association, the police union, from serving as members of the internal affairs team.
KRON4 has reached out to the Antioch Police Department and is awaiting a response.