Report: 5 Antioch Cops Claim Injuries, Can’t Attend Court Hearing About Racist Activities of Police Force in Gang Case

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By The Vanguard Staff

ANTIOCH, CA – At least five of the Antioch police officers subpoenaed to testify about racism and alleged crimes within the Antioch Police Dept. will not be testify because they are “out on injury leave and therefore unavailable,” according to a story Tuesday in The Mercury News, which said the “city of Antioch is resisting subpoenas.

“One of the five is a K9 officer and central focus of an ongoing FBI (civil rights) investigation who was allowed to keep his canine partner while on leave and later claimed he was injured while walking the dog, multiple law enforcement sources say,” The Mercury News added.

Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford swore the officers, including some under FBI investigation and others who sent racist texts to colleagues, have “not been medically cleared by (their) physician to attend court” Friday to, said The Mercury News, to “explore the department’s alleged violations of the Racial Justice Act.”

Four men accused of gang-related shootings could have their charges tossed depending on the outcome of the Friday hearing.

“It just highlights that these departments can’t police themselves, they can’t take the corrective measures that are needed to root out the racism,” Carmela Caramagno, a lawyer representing one of the men, said in a Tuesday phone interview with The Mercury News, adding, “They’re structurally designed to protect themselves over the needs of the community.”

Antioch police Lt. Michael Mellone, in a statement, said the department is “not allowed to order an employee to perform any functions that a physician has said they are not able to do.” But, he added, APD “will continue to facilitate subpoena service for any of our employees that have no (such) restrictions.”

The Mercury News wrote, “Defense attorneys for the four defendants have subpoenaed at least 15 officers, apparently hoping to question them not just about the offensive texts but also alleged crimes committed by their colleagues. 

“The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office already has conceded that the racist texts constitute a violation of the state’s Racial Justice Act, designed to weed out racism in the criminal justice system…prosecutors are now arguing against outright dismissal of murder and attempted murder charges against the four defendants, whose attorneys say were unfairly prosecuted by racist detectives.”

In May, Judge David Goldstein dismissed special circumstances enhancements against the four accused, charging the Contra Costa District Attorney used sentencing enhancements to target Black people. 

The injuries to the offices are unknown, but multiple law enforcement sources told The Mercury News that Morteza Amiri, a K9 officer, “claimed to have accidentally injured himself while walking his dog. Ironically, a criminal grand jury is weighing felony charges against Amiri related to several incidents where his dog, Purcy, bit somebody while Amiri was on duty. Amiri was placed on unpaid leave last year, after the FBI raided his home and seized his cellphone, but was allowed to keep Purcy, the sources said.”

The Mercury News said all five of the unavailable officers “have been implicated in at least one of the ongoing scandals plaguing the Antioch police force since early 2022.” More than a dozen current and former Antioch and Pittsburg officers are under criminal investigation by the FBI.  

“A grand jury has heard testimony on a number of alleged offenses, including bribery, fraud, drug trafficking and assault under color of authority, according to multiple law enforcement sources. Thus far, no charging decision has been made in federal court, though county prosecutors filed felony gun possession charges against one former Pittsburg officer last year,” according to The Mercury News.

The newspaper added, “After several officers’ phones were seized by authorities, investigators found racist, homophobic or otherwise offensive texts that were sent by Antioch officers, calling into question the legitimacy of potentially thousands of criminal convictions in which these officers had involvement.

“One text…said, ‘I’ll bury that n—- in my fields,’ according to a report by a DA inspector. Another, by Amiri, brags to a Brentwood officer how Antioch cops can use racial slurs around superiors and not face discipline.”

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