Antioch police text scandal: officer boasts about hurting suspects

An Antioch police officer bragged about his use of brutal force during the takedown of two Black men, according to the latest batch of text messages released from an investigation into misconduct permeating the Antioch Police Department.

Cops casually made jokes about racial stereotypes and expressed an eagerness to use force against two Black men wanted for attempted murder, according to texts from March 2021 that were released by the Contra Costa District Attorney's office. Then, when suspects Terryon Pugh and Trent Allen were caught, one officer boasted about hurting the men during their arrests and shared photos of the injured suspects from their hospital beds.

The texts are part of a broad investigation of the Antioch Police Department by local prosecutors and the FBI. Last week, the DA released messages from 14 Antioch officers involving racist and homophobic comments as well as possible admissions of other types of misconduct on duty.


Contra Costa County DA releases report detailing racist, homophobic texts from Antioch police officers

A joint investigation conducted by the FBI and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office released a report on Thursday detailing dozens of incidents of racist, homophobic, sexist and derogatory text messages involving 14 Antioch Police Department officers.

Today's DA report focuses on the messages sent and received by Officer Eric Rombough. In one text from March 23 last year, he said to his wife that he was "gonna unleash the 40 god next week." Rombough was referring to the deployment of his 40mm launcher that fires non-lethal projectiles, the district attorney's report said.

One week later, Pugh and Trent were arrested by Antioch police officers, including Rombough. 

Rombough appeared to boast about the arrests and possible use of force in messages with other officers.

"I can't believe he says he has no pain in his back," Rombough said in one text to Officer Brock Marcotte.

Rombough continued to gloat about the arrests to another person, whose name is redacted in the investigative report.

"We managed to set up a perimeter and he got his a whooped in the back yard and I field goal kicked his head," he texted. Rombough then added, "I tried to knock him unconscious. And he got muzzle thumped 6 times before he gave us his hands."

Rombough also sent photos of Trent and Pugh's injuries after the violent arrests separately to Sgt. Josh Evans, United States Postal Inspector Francisco Garcia, and an unnamed person.

They all seemingly cheered at Rombough's actions, the report shows.

Rombough was also named in the first investigative report released last week by the district attorney's office detailing a slew of racist, homophobic, derogatory text messages from officers that were aimed at the Black community and other people of color.

Some of the most egregious text messages included multiple uses of the n-word, photos of gorillas in reference to Black people, admissions of racist beliefs and detailed incidents of potential police dishonesty.

That report, just as the second one, details possible civil rights violations, abuse of authority, and perjury. Local and federal authorities believe several officers within the department violated the state's racial justice law.

The first and second redacted investigative reports from the Contra Costa County DA can be found below.