5 Antioch officers will skip hearing about department racism: report

Five of 15 Antioch police officers won't be showing up at a court hearing Friday to discuss racism and alleged crimes within the department because the city said they are out on medical leave and can't attend, according to the Bay Area News Group. 

The injuries were not spelled out, but BANG reported that one of the K9 officers claimed to have hurt himself walking his dog. 

Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford signed sworn declarations under penalty of perjury that the officers — some under FBI investigation and others who sent racist texts to colleagues — have "not been medically cleared by (their) physician to attend court," BANG reported.

The hearing is scheduled so that Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge David Goldstein can make rulings regarding the police department’s alleged violations of the Racial Justice Act. The hearing could result in serious criminal charges being dismissed against four men accused of committing a series of gang-related shootings.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office already has conceded that the racist texts, first unearthed by BANG, constitute a violation of the state’s Racial Justice Act.

But prosecutors are now arguing for a complete dismissal of murder and attempted murder charges against four defendants, whose attorneys say were unfairly prosecuted by racist detectives.

In May, Goldstein ruled in a separate Racial Justice Act hearing that prosecutors have disproportionately charged Black defendants with sentencing enhancements that unfairly target them for life in prison without parole – at about a 40% greater likelihood than non-Black defendants. 

The Racial Justice Act became law in 2022. It was authored by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), allowing defendants to seek legal relief if racial bias can be proven.