Editor’s note: This story contains racist language.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge David Goldstein will decide by May 19 whether to dismiss gang enhancement charges against four Black men arrested in connection with a shooting in Antioch.
Attorneys for the men had already filed motions to dismiss the charges on the grounds of the California Racial Justice Act, which prohibits racism in criminal prosecutions and sentencing. The argument was bolstered this week by a spiraling racist text message scandal within the Antioch Police Department. Some of the text messages contain references to the four men.
The racist texts surfaced during an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton into misconduct by police officers in Antioch and Pittsburg, including officers misusing police dogs, falsifying education records to obtain pay bumps and eliciting false confessions. The district attorney’s report (PDF), which contains racist, misogynistic and violent language and imagery, was obtained by KQED.
Eleven members of the Antioch Police Department are on leave after the investigation. At least 14 officers — sergeants, detectives and supervisors — allegedly sent and received racist memes and text messages for four years, according to the report.