Cops in Torrance, Calif., are under investigation by state officials after a string of racist text messages between officers—some of whom have been involved in the deaths of Black and Hispanic men—came to light.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the California Department of Justice is looking into the texts, as well as incidents of potential excessive force and other typical police behavior possible misconduct in the city of 135,000 people that sits about 20 miles southwest of L.A. and 14 miles northeast of Long Beach. To make it worse, the racist texts were discovered because two former Torrance cops were already being looked into for possible criminal activity.
The Times’ description of the texts includes pictures of Black men being lynched, holocaust jokes and more. It puts a large number of criminal cases in limbo.
From the Los Angeles Times
The broad scope of the racist text conversations, which prosecutors said went on for years, has created a crisis for the Torrance Police Department and could jeopardize hundreds of criminal cases in which the officers either testified or made arrests. California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said Wednesday his office will investigate the department in the wake of the scandal.
The officers’ comments spared no color or creed: They joked about “gassing” Jewish people, assaulting members of the LGBTQ community, using violence against suspects and lying during an investigation into a police shooting, according to district attorney’s office records reviewed by The Times.
Frequently, hateful comments were targeted at Black people. Officers called Black men “savages,” and several variations of the N-word, according to documents reviewed by The Times. The officers also shared instructions on how to tie a noose and a picture of a stuffed animal being lynched inside Torrance’s police headquarters, according to the documents.
None of the officers have been criminally charged yet but California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta told the Times that charges were on the table if appropriate. Fourteen cops participated in the texts, including current and former officers from Torrance and one from Snoop’s hood in Long Beach. Fifteen Torrance cops have been placed on leave, the Times said.