Call Them Out: California Judge Releases Names Of 17 Police Officers Accused of Racism

Call Them Out: California Judge Releases Names Of 17 Police Officers Accused of Racism

What happens in the dark always comes to the light and a California judge is making sure of it.

Contra Costa County Judge Clare Maier, after issuing a warning, released the names and text messages of 17 Antioch police officers who are suspected of using racist epithets, jokes and memes to the public. Maier said the inappropriate discourse started in September 2019 and continued until January 2022, when FBI agents seized the officers’ phones along with other personal items.

“I’ve had my eye on Antioch for a long time,” civil rights attorney Adante Pointer said last week, according to the East Bay Times. “This is proof-positive what people who have been watching Antioch already knew—that it is full of officers who do not deserve to wear the badge.”

The disgraced officers include Rick Hoffman, head of the Antioch Police Association. Hoffman, who has been vocal in his criticism of Antioch mayor and police reform advocate Lamar Thorpe, is one of eight Antioch officers on leave because of the details of the messages.

Six other officers’ alleged criminal activity is already being looked at by the FBI: Devon Wenger, Eric Rombough, Andrea Rodriguez, Calvin Prieto, Morteza Amiri, and Tim Manly.

Maier did not specify what each officer sent out, although she described the messages as “deeply disturbing” and directed toward “members of the Black and Hispanic community.”

Investigators accused Rombough, Manly, and fellow officers Jonathan Adams, Scott Duggar, Joshua Evans, Robert Gerber, Brock Marcotte, and Thomas Smith of mentioning four alleged Oakland-based ENT gang members in texts sent over a 10-day period in March 2021, when Antioch police were listening in on the suspects’ conversations.

“It’s no wonder why the public has lost faith in law enforcement,” said Pointer, “and why we see Black and Brown people overrepresented in the criminal justice system when the people administering it are racist.”

Contra Costa County courts will determine whether or not the messages are sufficient enough to drop any charges brought against people the officers were investigating. That includes anyone the officers mentioned explicitly in the texts and any Black or Latino person investigated or detained, since they have room to claim that they faced racial discrimination.