California Attorney General Rob Bonta said his office will launch an investigation into the Torrance Police Department after the Los Angeles Times revealed more than a dozen officers had exchanged racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic texts and memes for years. Bonta told the Times that the texts would be at the “heart” of his probe, and that it may include criminal charges. The probe had been in the works prior to the Times story on Wednesday.
In the offensive conversations, officers joked about “gassing” Jewish people, assaulting members of the LGBTQ+ community, and lynching Black people, whom they often called “savages” or variations of the N-word. They also referenced using violence against suspects and misleading investigators looking into a police shooting. The officers identified by the Times, according to records, are a group who have collectively used serious or deadly force at least seven times against Black or Latino men since 2013. Their exchanges have the potential to jeopardize 1,400 criminal cases in which they are witnesses.