Even more repulsive, racist text messages shared between officers in California’s Torrance Police Department have surfaced, causing local residents to say the force is too biased to keep the town safe.
As news emerged of the new cache of damning texts, the City of Torrance and the Torrance Police Department revealed that in June 2022, they’d agreed to an investigation led by California’s Office of the Attorney General.
The attorney general “will assess and analyze [Torrance Police Department] and its policies, procedures, systems, practices, and outcomes, including but not limited to data relevant to possible bias in policing…general practices involving use of force…training; hiring and other personnel matters,” the release stated.
“The overall goal of this effort is to increase public trust, address and eliminate bias, and support effective, informed, contemporary, and innovative policing practices throughout,” the statement added, vowing that Torrance police would rebuild its relationship with the community.
While the department became embroiled in scandal late last year, when cops’ racist text messages first came to light, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that new court documents revealed even more vile messages shared between officers on the force, with cops using the N-word and joking about killing Black people.
In one exchange, according to the Times, a group of officers complained about a group of Black people gathering outside of the police station after their family member was shot and killed by police.
“Was going to tell you all those n----- family members are all pissed off in front of the station,” one officer said, the Times reported.
Officers then allegedly joked about hosting a gun-cleaning party if the identities of the cops who shot the Black man became public.
“Yes, absolutely. Let’s all just post in your yard with lawn chairs in a [firing] squad,” another officer replied, according to documents obtained by the Times.
The scandal first erupted in December 2021, when the LA Times released a trove of racist and discriminatory messages sent by Torrance officers. In those, officers shared an image of Black men who had been lynched, joking that they were “hanging with the homies.” Another text message said cops should break a tail light on a Black man’s car and shoot him if he was caught having an affair with one of the officers’ girlfriends. The messages also showed that officers joked about “gassing” Jewish people and assaulting members of the LGBTQ+ community. The scandal prompted an investigation from the state attorney general’s office, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported.
In April 2022, a court filing demonstrated that between 2018 and 2020 Torrance police officers used discriminatory language in hundreds of messages, the Times reported. According to The Daily Breeze, the cops shared texts calling Black people slurs like “savages” and “monkeys” and even went so far as to joke about urinating on Black children.
“His son will grow up without a father now,” a Torrance officer allegedly said in a text after the killing of a Black man, according to The Daily Breeze. “That’s standard by any African-American family to be absent a father. He’ll be fine.”
The Times reported that lawsuits currently involving Torrance officers have cost the city $10 million.
Baba Akili, a Black Lives Matter organizer who has regularly attended Torrance town meetings, accused the local police department of hiding from its issues, The Daily Breeze reported.
“They’ve taken the ostrich approach. If an article comes out or something that’s…clearly unavoidable, they’ll respond,” he said, according to the outlet. “But other than that, they stick their heads in the sand and go on business as usual as if nothing ever happened.”
The Torrance Police Department did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Friday.