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. 

The heavily redacted joint report also details numerous incidents of potential civil rights violations, abuse of authority, and perjury and concludes that these incidents "may have violated the Racial Justice Act."

"This report documents some of the derogatory, homophobic and sexually explicit language and photographs shared by members of the Antioch Police Department that demonstrates their racial bias and animus towards African Americans and other people of color in the community," the report states. 

Some of the most egregious text messages include 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 and civil rights violations. 

"They’re pretty horrible and they’re sickening," said civil rights Attorney John Burris. 

Burris said these texts show the states of mind of the officers. He wants them fired and de-certified so they cannot work at other police departments.

"These officers should be terminated," Burris said. "And in cases where they used physical force as part of their racial animus toward people, they should be prosecuted."

One officer even offered up a steak dinner for any officer who would shoot Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe with a ".40mm less-lethal launcher," the report found.

"I’ll buy someone a prime rib dinner at House of [prime] rib to 40 that [redacted] (Thorpe) during the protest today," texted Officer John Ramirez on June 8, 2020.

In another incident, one officer referred to George Floyd, the Black man murdered by Minneapolis Police Department officers in May 2020, as a gorilla.

"See all the riots in LA?" Officer Morteza Amiri texted Officer Eric Rombough on May 27, 2020. 

"No I didn’t lol," Rombough responded.

"For the gorilla that died," Amiri texted back. 

The release of the joint report comes amid the Antioch Police Department being under FBI investigation for months and after the East Bay Times first reported on the texts. 

Earlier this week, Mayor Thorpe called for an independent audit of APD's Internal Affairs process and condemned 17 police officers, including the president of the city's police union, for their roles in the text messaging scandal. 

"While Antioch has worked hard to become one of the Bay Area's most racially diverse cities, this will undoubtedly leave an embarrassing stain on our community," Thorpe said in a video statement this past Saturday. 

The scandal hit a boiling point for Thorpe on Tuesday when he shouted at speaker during a public comment session.

"You want to go outside? Let’s go!" Thorpe yelled at the speaker, who was defending the police department and accused the mayor of misconduct. "I am sick and tired of being attacked by these people in this community apologizing for the racism that is going on in this community."

On Thursday, Thorpe told KTVU he did not read the report because it was too triggering.

 "I didn’t read anything, I just saw the images. And frankly that was enough because it’s just very angering to be compared to animals," Thorpe said.

Beyond the federal investigation, the text messaging scandal could have an impact on past cases involving the officers implicated in the text messaging scandal. 

"There are admissions of pursuing and brutalizing and targeting Black and Brown members of the community in Antioch, and it’s clear that this is deeply entrenched in the culture there," said Contra Costa County Chief Public Defender Ellen McDonnell, adding that the scandal could affect thousands of cases. 

Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford released a statement apologizing to the community.

"I condemn – in the strongest possible terms – the racially abhorrent content and incomprehensible behavior attributed to members of the Antioch Police Department," Ford wrote. 

Police Dishonesty

"Since we don’t have video I sometimes just say people gave me a full confession when they didn’t. [Gets] filed easier," Officer Amiri texted Brentwood Police Officer Lindzie Laughridge on April 29, 2020. 

Amiri served as a police K9 officer and deployed his police dog over 400 times from December 2018 to December 2021, resulting in suspects being bitten nearly 30 times. "Law enforcement personnel have been able to confirm that 19 of the 28 dog bites were suffered by African Americans," the report found. 

On July 2, 2020, Officer Andrea Rodriguez texted that she was unsure if she could conduct a drug recognition evaluation because her suspect was "knocked out now," the report states. 

"No we’ll just say he refused to comply and take the blood," Officer Calvin Prieto responded. "Sh*t aint going anywhere. If anything he’ll get hit for the 2800.4," an evading the police violation, the report states.


On Aug. 22, 2020 another officer lamented the fact that APD had body cameras when they helped in the arrest of a suspect in neighboring Pittsburg.

"If Pitt didn’t have all those body cams and that was us…we would have f**ked him up more," Amiri texted Officer Devon Wenger. "He didn’t get what he deserved."

"I agree," Wenger responded. "That’s why I don’t like body cams."

Derogatory and racist comments

The report shows multiple incidents of APD officers using homophobic slurs and texting each other photos of gorillas in reference to Black residents and widespread use of the n-word. 

On June 22, 2020, Rombough texted an unnamed citizen a photo of a "large African American male, with his penis exposed, sitting on the neck of George Floyd," the report states.

One officer even admits to the n-word’s seemingly commonplace usage even with supervisors. 

SEE ALSO: 'You want to go? Let's go!' Antioch mayor shouts during meeting on police racist texting scandal

In late 2020, Amiri texted an officer from a neighboring police department that the n-word is "commonly used around" the Antioch Police Department. 

"Even in group messages with supervisors and IA [Sergeants] matter of fact it was said just today in our group thread with multiple supervisors in it," Amiri texted on Dec. 27, 2020.

The text messages range in date from Sept. 2019 to April 2022 and include texts from both current and former law enforcement officers employed by APD. Officers involved in the report include Sgts. Josh Evans and Rick Hoffman; officers Jonathan Adams, Morteza Amiri, Scott Duggar, Aaron Hughes, Brayton Miller, Calvin Prieto, John Ramirez, Andrea Rodriguez, Eric Rombough, Kyle Smith, Devon Wenger; and Det. Robert Gerber. 

Read the full report issued by the FBI and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office below.

Freddy Brewster is a reporter for KTVU. 
Email Freddy at or call him at 513-379-7522
Follow him on Twitter @freddy_brewster