ANTIOCH – They insisted the Antioch cops have been soiled all alongside, that the officers focused and mocked their sons and fiancés and family members as a result of they have been Black, however nobody believed them.
When Kathryn Wade heard the information Thursday morning that six Antioch officers have been among the many 10 indicted in a wide-ranging police corruption scandal in federal court docket Thursday – with reams of racist textual content messages bolstering among the prices – she broke into tears. Her son, she stated, had been overwhelmed 5 instances by Antioch police, who joked about it.
“Thanks, Jesus,” she stated. “I do know God answered my prayers as a result of we weren’t simply saying this was occurring, we weren’t simply placing in complaints, I wasn’t simply protesting, I wasn’t going to the Metropolis Council conferences, writing letters to the Board of Supervisors for nothing. I did this as a result of I knew that corruption was occurring, as a result of it was occurring to my son and my household.”
For many who say they suffered in these east Contra Costa County communities by the hands of Antioch and Pittsburg police, the indictments are a reduction, a vindication of their years of feeling patronized and ignored. In court docket Thursday, the officers appeared on the defendant’s desk in handcuffs, with considered one of their attorneys complaining concerning the indignity of the pre-dawn raids that rousted his shopper – Antioch Officer Eric Rombough – from his house.
“That is what they get,” stated Ursala Morgan, standing exterior her Antioch house Thursday, only a block from the place a gunman killed her fiancé, Victor Coleman II – one other loss of life that Rombough and different officers mocked in textual content messages. “They should go to jail. Identical to you picked up lots of people and put a variety of harmless folks in jail and then you definately mocked them. Now it’s time so that you can be on the opposite aspect.”
Over the past 20 years, many individuals from the internal cities of Oakland and San Francisco moved to Antioch and Pittsburg, extra reasonably priced communities alongside the breezy delta that they hoped would give their households a respite from crime, a good place to lift their youngsters. The violent, racist textual content messages uncovered by investigators who seized officers telephones as a part of a broader probe recommend they barely stood an opportunity. Within the texts, a lot of which emerged in separate court docket proceedings earlier this 12 months, officers referred to as Black folks “gorillas,” and “monkeys” and used the n-word repeatedly, even boasting they might use the time period in entrance of supervisors with impunity.
In a single batch of texts from 2021, Rombough despatched pictures of two younger males, Trent Allen and Terryon Pugh, mendacity in hospital beds after he shot them with sponge bullets and arrested them in reference to what police say was a gang-related tried homicide. He appeared to revel of their distress: He kicked the top of Allen “like a f—— subject purpose,” Rombough texted, including “Gotta cease kicking n—–s of their head.”
Within the picture, Allen appeared shirtless, with electrical nodes connected to his chest and a surgical masks on his face. He appeared to have a wound on his neck.
“You bought him within the neck?!” an individual texted Rombough.
“Yup and one other fa—- within the butt,” Rombough replied, utilizing a homophobic slur. “2 for the day.”
“Good babe,” the individual stated.
In an interview Thursday, Allen’s mom, Shirelle Cobbs, stated her “coronary heart is overwhelmed” by the indictments.
“I’m simply comfortable that chains are being damaged, issues are coming to go,” Cobbs stated. “I’m simply comfortable that they’re taking motion.”
John Burris, a longtime Bay Space civil rights legal professional, filed a sprawling civil rights lawsuit towards town’s police division earlier this 12 months. For victims of the corrupt officers, he stated, “it’s vital for them to know that what they have been complaining about wasn’t a mistake or their creativeness,” Burris stated. “It was actuality.”
The indictments, he stated, are “a very good first step” in direction of cleansing up the police division and acknowledging that the indicted officers “have been on the improper aspect of the regulation” for years.
Burris stated the indictments as soon as once more spotlight the necessity for strict federal oversight of the Antioch Police Division. He is aware of nicely the impression such oversight can have within the Bay Space — his work 20 years in the past in the course of the Oakland Police Division’s “Riders” scandal led to the set up of an impartial monitor overseeing that company as nicely.
On Thursday morning, whereas the officers have been pleading responsible to quite a few federal prices, LaTanya Marzett walked into the Antioch police division. She was reporting a theft at her storage unit. The foyer was quiet, and a observe on the clerk’s desk stated they’d be again in quarter-hour.
She was thrilled to listen to concerning the indictments.
After shifting from San Francisco to Antioch in 2008, she and her household, she stated, have suffered nothing however harassment from native police, together with from a number of of the officers concerned within the texting scandal.
“I do know racism won’t ever die,” she stated. “However to listen to what has been launched is unbelievable.”
Did she suppose she would see a like Thursday?
“By no means,’’ she stated, “in 1,000,000 years.”
Workers Author Judith Prieve contributed to this report.