The San Jose Police Department said it has placed four police officers on administrative leave. It is investigating allegations that they posted racist and anti-Muslim messages in a private Facebook group.
"We have no place for this," SJPD chief Eddie Garcia said in a written statement. A spokesperson for the police department did not identify the officers.
"While I have no control over what former employees post online, I can voice my outrage after hearing about these comments made online. Any current employee involved with bigoted activity online will promptly be investigated and held accountable to the fullest extent in my power," he said.
An FBI official told NPR that the bureau is in contact with the SJPD and is aware of the investigation into the officers' reported comments on social media.
"If in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal crime, the FBI is prepared to investigate," the FBI official said.
Allegations in Medium post
The allegations against the San Francisco Bay Area officers stem from an anonymous article on the website Medium.
The author, identified only as the partner of an active law enforcement officer in the area, detailed how retired and current officers in the San Jose Police Department allegedly use the private group called 10-7ODSJ to "freely express their true thoughts and ideas."
The name "10-7ODSJ" is a reference to the police code for off duty, The Mercury News reported.
"In closely reading their posts, it is very disturbing to find how much hate, prejudice and racism they harbor," the author of the Medium post said.
For example, the article flagged a comment from a current SJPD motor officer reportedly saying that "Black lives don't really matter."
That same officer allegedly wrote an anti-Muslim comment about a woman who filed a lawsuit against the Ventura County Sheriff's Office saying that deputies forced her to remove her hijab while in custody.
"Hell, I would have pulled it over her face," the officer wrote, according to the Medium article.