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California police department investigated for alleged racist texts

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 15: California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference outside of an Amazon distribution facility on November 15, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

The California lawyer normal launched an impartial overview of a southern California police division after allegations of racist and homophobic messages, extreme power and different misconduct have been reported.

The announcement got here after hours after the Los Angeles Times reported greater than a dozen present and former officers with the Torrance Police Division exchanged hateful messages about Black, Jewish and LGBTQ folks. In different messages, officers spoke about utilizing violence in opposition to suspects and mendacity a couple of police taking pictures, the newspaper discovered.

The messages led to the dismissal of a minimum of 85 prison circumstances on the native and county stage, in line with the Instances. The officers who despatched racist textual content messages have been concerned in a minimum of seven use-of-force incidents since 2013, three of which resulted within the loss of life of Black and Latino males in line with data obtained by the outlet.

13 of the officers have been listed as doable witnesses in additional than 1,800 circumstances spanning greater than a decade, in line with Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Lawyer’s Workplace.

The workplace has reviewed a whole lot of circumstances involving the officers who have been implicated with a give attention to pending and post-conviction circumstances, Risling stated. Prosecutors are additionally reviewing prison allegations of unreasonable power they’ve been introduced.

Not one of the officers are going through prison costs over the messages, however they’ve been positioned on administrative depart in line with a statement from metropolis officers.

“My promise to all of our residents and guests to the town is that I’ll personally do every thing I can to make sure that all folks really feel welcome, secure and guarded in our neighborhood,” Mayor Patrick J. Furey  stated. “This similar dedication is shared by all members of the Torrance Metropolis Council.”

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The state overview goals to “establish and proper potential systemic failures within the division’s insurance policies and practices,” in line with a press release from Lawyer Normal Rob Bonta. Will probably be performed by  the California Division of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Part with help from the DOJ’s Division of Regulation Enforcement. 

“Our communities need to know they will get equal justice beneath the regulation,” Bonta stated. “The place there may be proof of doubtless pervasive bias or discrimination, it might undermine the belief that’s important for public security and our justice system. 

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Bonta stated Torrance Chief of Police Jay Hart requested an investigation into the problem.

“As police chief of the Torrance Police Division, I’m dedicated to accountability, and I cannot tolerate any type of bigotry, racism, hate, or misconduct,” Hart stated in a press release. 

The Torrance Police division is simply one of many nation’s roughly 18,000 police departments going through state or federal investigation following accusations of misconduct. Attorney General Merrick Garland launched investigations into the sample and practices of police departments in Minneapolis, Louisville and Phoenix within the wake of huge racial justice and police reform protests following George Floyd’s homicide in Could 2020. 

Contributing: The Related Press

Observe N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

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