Antioch Police Department's Racist and Homophobic Text Scandal Sparks Protests and Rallies

Protesters gathered outside the Antioch Police Department on Sunday to handle concerns concerning the reinstatement of some officers implicated in last yr's racist, homophobic and sexist texting scandal.

“Some of them are starting to get their jobs back and we don’t want them to do that,” said Frank Sterling Jr. of Reimagine Antioch, one among the rally organizers.

The rally was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Sunday within the Walgreens parking zone on Deer Valley Road in Antioch. The plan – as described on First Voice Media's Facebook page, – was then speculated to move to the police station about 3.5 miles away.

The disturbing texts emerged during an investigation by the FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office nearly two years ago into allegations of police misconduct in Antioch and Pittsburg. In late April 2023, the DA's office released text messages from 17 Antioch officers between 2019 and 2022, but more were involved, in response to Ellen McDonnell, the county's top public defender.

The timing of the rally, Sterling said, coincides with the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of the text messaging scandal, which led to the furlough of several officials.

He says the timing also has to do with the primary time Malad Baldwin was beaten by Antioch police ten years ago in 2014. Baldwin, who sued the town in 2015 after being injured in that beating, died in 2021.

Sterling also said Antioch police haven’t provided details about which officers involved within the racist/homophobic/sexist texts have been reinstated. He also said demoting an officer with a history of racism won’t solve the issue.

“I don’t think this will cure their racism – a degradation,” he said.

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