Three California Police Officers Charged With Violating Black Suspects’ Civil Rights
An FBI investigation exposed the racist acts of three Antioch, California, police officers.
CNN reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced Morteza Amiri, Eric Rombough, and Devon Wenger were charged with civil rights violations, including conspiracy against rights and deprivation of rights under color of law. Amiri also faces a charge of falsification of records.
All three officers are accused of using excessive force via dog bites and a 40mm less lethal launcher. They would then take pictures and videos for personal use and brag about their actions among themselves and other officers. They failed to report their use of force and tried to cover up their actions with false statements in police reports.
According to an indictment, Amiri took pictures of dog bites on someone he’d arrested in December 2019 and texted, “I’m gonna take more gory pics. gory pics are for personal stuff. cleaned up pics for the case.”
When the FBI seized both professional and personal cell phones from the officers, several racist texts were unearthed, according to KRON 4. Rombough, who played soccer professionally before joining the Antioch Police Department, bragged about how hard he’d kicked a young Black man in the head. Text messages show he wrote, “He got his a** whooped in the back yard, and I field goal kicked his head. I tried to knock him unconscious.” Another text from 2022 shows he wrote, “Bottom line, it doesn’t matter some gorilla killed another gorilla.”
Incriminating evidence was found during the investigation, including Rombough admitting to “violating civil rights” when an unnamed officer texted him in November 2020 asking what the officers were up to. All three officers used the N-word and other terms, including “monkeys” and circus animals, to describe Black suspects.
Acting Chief of Police Joe Vigil released a statement on Facebook, calling the officers’ arrests “disheartening” and said, “Any police officer who breaks public trust must be held accountable, especially because our effectiveness relies heavily on confidence and support from our community.
“No individual—including a police officer—is above the law.”