Four active San Jose police officers were placed on administrative leave Saturday as the department launched an investigation into alleged racist posts in a Facebook group for officers, CBS San Francisco reports. The group was brought to light Friday night in a Medium post written by somebody claiming to be the "partner of an active law enforcement officer in a San Francisco Bay Area police department."
"Four of our officers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is conducted," SJPD spokesperson officer Gina Tepoorten told CBS San Francisco in a statement. "The San Jose Police Department will be seeking assistance from the FBI regarding this matter."
According to the Medium post, the private Facebook group "10–7ODSJ" was a forum where members of the San Jose Police Department would "freely express their true thoughts and ideas."
One commenter, described as a retired sergeant, called Black Lives Matter protesters "racist useful idiots" for ANTIFA, which he described as "Marxist reactionaries that aim to destroy America," according to the post. Another, described as a retired officer, allegedly commented on a different post "black lives don't really matter." Others allegedly commented approvingly about an officer who removed a Muslim woman's hijab.
It is not clear how the four officers placed on leave contributed to the group, which allegedly included posts from both current and retired officers. But San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he expects any active officers who expressed bigoted or hateful views in the group to be fired.
"I demand and expect a full investigation and further expect that racist, anti-Muslim or menacing comments expressed by any current SJPD officer will be met with termination," Liccardo said in a statement.
San Jose Police Chief Edgardo Garcia also condemned the alleged posts. "While I have no control over what former employees post online, I can voice my outrage after hearing about these comments made online," he said on Friday. "Any current employee involved with bigoted activity online will promptly be investigated and held accountable to the fullest extent in my power."
The San Jose Police Officers Association on Friday also issued a statement condemning anyone who participated in the group.
"I am announcing tonight that I am taking swift action against any member of the SJPOA that has participated in this online ring of hate because there is zero room in our department or our profession for racists, bigots or those that enable them," SJPOA President Paul Kelly said.
Kelly added the organization would file charges to expel officers who participated in the group from the union.