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Antioch, Pittsburg police officers arrested in FBI probe

Mike Licht
Flickr / Creative Commons

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe confirmed that multiple officers were arrested by the FBI on Thursday morningin a civil rights probe that started in early 2022.

Thorpe said in a statement: "Today is a dark day in our city's history, as people trusted to uphold the law, allegedly breached that trust and were arrested by the FBI. As our city absorbs this tragic news, we must come together as one. Today's actions are the beginning of the end of a long and arduous process."

The FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office have both investigated the departments since early 2022. The state attorney general's office opened its own probe earlier this year. The San Jose Mercury-News reports that the officers were arrested early this morning in a series of raids for multiple offenses, including running a criminal conspiracy.

Among the other allegations are chains of text messages sent between about half of Antioch’s 100 officers, using racial slurs and describing violence against suspects, and going as far as threatening Thorpe, who is African American. The N-word was used at least a dozen times, as were terms describing African Americans as "goriilas."

The texts also described recently retired Police Chief Steven Ford, who is African American, in racially derogatory terms. They also contained homophobic slurs and suggested violence against unhoused people.

As many as 45 of Antioch's approximately 100 officers were placed on leave because of the texts.