Watch CBS News

Update: Antioch Police Chief condemns reported racist texts sent between officers

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe defends his angry outburst over the police racist text scandal
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe defends his angry outburst over the police racist text scandal 06:55

ANTIOCH -- 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 week "several" officers were suspended because of the alleged text messages. 

The investigation and the controversy surrounding the scandal over the text messages has stirred some strong emotions, with Thorpe himself getting into a shouting match with a resident during a city council meeting earlier this week.

At the meeting, Thorpe said the number of officers involved was up to 24.  During an interview with KPIX on Wednesday, Thorpe doubled down on his words and actions from the city council meeting.

"I mean, there are people in this country who have been hosed down with fire hoses. There are people in this country who have had dogs attack them. There are people protesting and demonstrating," the mayor told KPIX. "There are people in this country who were getting spit in their face for trying to desegregate lunch counters. And here I am standing up to one racist. There's nothing for me to regret or take back."  

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."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.