Four North California police officers have been placed on administrative leave after they were accused of making racist and bigoted comments in a private Facebook group.
On June 26, an anonymous blogger on Medium.com first reported on the group, titled 10-7ODSJ. The unnamed author, who claimed to be the partner of a San Francisco Bay area law enforcement officer, disclosed that several current and retired San Jose police officers were writing racist and anti-Muslim comments in the secret group. In one instance, a current officer was cited for commenting “black lives don’t really matter” on a retired officer’s public post, the blog stated.
The writer sought anonymity in an effort to protect his or her well-being, the New York Times reported.
District 6 Candidate Jake Tonkel Condemns Private San Jose Police Officers' Facebook Group
I am calling for a full investigation by the Independent Police Auditor (@SanJoseIPA) into discriminatory social media posts & threats of violence, both in ‘10–7ODSJ’ and elsewhere online. pic.twitter.com/ZcOgnUSSiP
— Jake Tonkel for D6 (@Jake4D6) June 28, 2020
Following widespread calls to terminate the officers by the police union and local officials, a San Jose Police Department spokeswoman confirmed to the LA Times that the department was “conducting an administrative investigation into the comments” and “seeking help from the FBI.”
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia condemned the behavior in a statement obtained by the LA Times.
“While I have no control over what former employees post online, I can voice my outrage after hearing about these comments made online,” he expressed. “Any current employee involved with bigoted activity online will promptly be investigated and held accountable to the fullest extent in my power.”
Adding, “We have no place for this.”
The four active officers identified in making offensive posts have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, the Los Angeles-based newspaper reported. The group has also been deactivated.
Members of 10-7ODSJ Shared Posts About Black Lives Matter
The same San Jose officer who wrote “black lives don’t really matter” also made several anti-Muslim comments on a post about a deputy who pulled off a woman’s Hijab, Mercury News reported.
“Hell, I would have pulled it over her face,” he wrote, according to the Medium article, while another retired officer said, “If your (sic) incarcerated you don’t get to wear your religious outfits.”
Another added a smiling emoji and suggested the use of hijabs as nooses, the blog continued.
A Similar Facebook Group Accused of Targeting Shaun King Inspired the Article
The Medium author stated that the article was largely motivated by police critic and journalist Shaun King’s recent claim that a private Facebook law enforcement group was plotting to kill him.
“Reading Shaun King’s recent Medium article about a secret law enforcement Facebook page planning to assassinate him has required my conscience to expose a San Jose Police Department (SJPD) private FB page,” the author wrote. “It’s called ’10–7ODSJ.’”
On June 26, King wrote his own Medium blog accusing law enforcement officials in a private Facebook group of planning his demise.
The 40-year-old said he didn’t know where else to report the group and had little faith in law enforcement.
“Sadly, I receive death threats daily. It’s been that for years, but they are mainly from anonymous strangers and seem more designed to intimidate me and my family than they appear to be imminent threats of physical harm,” he wrote on Medium. “We take them all seriously, but what we found in this private Facebook group is altogether different.”
Adding, “These were men and women, in a private group that they had no idea I’d ever see, using their real names and identities, openly plotting to kill me and organizing each other to execute it.”
A retired San Jose police sergeant is a member of both Facebook groups, Mercury reported.
The Anonymous Author is Unsatisfied With Calls for Firings
In the anonymous article, titled “Racism and Hate behind the Blue Wall: Exposing Secret Law Enforcement Facebook Groups,” the author expressed that the department needs to try harder to address its “systemic racism.”
He or she also wrote that it needs to promote more officers of color.
“Them taking action is not the end of the process,” the author said. “It’s only the beginning.”
San Jose Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen said in a statement to the LA Times that the Conviction Integrity Unit would perform a “comprehensive review” of all cases regarding current and retired officers.
“What I just read sickened me and made me sick for our entire community. No one who expresses these type of disgusting, racist comments should ever wear a badge,” Rosen said in the statement. “Anyone who writes this kind of trash has no role in our criminal justice system.”
Garcia promised to terminate any officers confirmed to be involved in the offensive group, according to Mercury News.
“I will move to fire people,” Garcia said to the outlet. “You cannot say this publicly. You cannot say this quietly.”