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Antioch Police Chief Addresses Racism Allegations Within Police Department

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(Image courtesy of Antioch Police Department via Bay City News)

By Tony Hicks
Bay City News

Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford on Thursday condemned racist and homophobic texts circulated among reportedly dozens of Antioch police officers that became public earlier this month as part of investigations by the FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

“I condemn — in the strongest possible terms — the racially abhorrent content and incomprehensible behavior being attributed to members of the Antioch Police Department in media reports,” Ford said in a statement.

“I have taken immediate action to ensure a thorough investigation by an external independent entity is conducted and the community is not exposed to any individuals under question from this reporting,” the chief said.

At least eight Antioch officers were suspended in the past year during the ongoing probe into civil rights violations and other police misconduct.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said last month “several” officers were suspended because of the alleged text messages. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Thorpe said the number of officers involved was up to 24.

Ford said Thursday, “On behalf of our organization, I apologize to the Antioch community for the hurt caused by this hateful speech. I promise to hold accountable the officers expressing racist or bigoted beliefs, biased insensitivity, and those boasting about harming members of the community.”

Ford also thanked investigators “for their work in helping us identify the sickening disease of racism and other incompatible behaviors within our ranks. We will continue to fully cooperate with their efforts while taking actionable steps to restore community trust in our organization.”

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