(KRON) — After an investigation revealed that Antioch Police Department officers had allegedly used racist language in texts, the Contra Costa County Public Defender told KRON4 that all of the cases the department has been involved in will need to be reviewed.
The investigation into messages sent by the APD officers was conducted by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The APD officers allegedly sent the racist messages while discussing suspects that the officers were investigating, according to the DA’s Office.
Public Defender Ellen McDonnell tells KRON4 that the text messages and other disclosures during the investigation exposed a “pervasive and troubling culture” at APD. She says the review could potentially impact thousands of cases involving APD.
“I am deeply concerned about this entrenched culture in the Antioch Police Department and the many community members whose rights have been violated by these officers,” McDonnell said of the matter.
McDonnell says her office will be conducting a “widespread” review of all cases that involved the APD. The racist language used in the text messages sent by APD officers are “textbook” violations of the California Racial Justice Act, and will be investigated, McDonnell confirmed.
McDonnell also shared the letter that her office sent to the DA requesting the release of all names of officers that are under investigation. McDonnell’s office also requested that the DA identify which cases were handled by the officers under investigation so her office could continue its review of the matter.
The investigations into APD range from excessive force to civil rights violations, and they could implicate a significant number of officers at the department, McDonnell says. One of the eight officers now under investigation has since resigned. Several others were placed on administrative leave due to another investigation by the City of Antioch.
“The disparate treatment of community members of color, civil rights violations, racism, and homophobia have no place in law enforcement,” McDonnell said.