Probe uncovers vile text messages from Torrance Police Department calling detainees “monkeys” and joking about a man urinating on a black child

A local California police agency has reiterated its earlier promise to work with the state’s attorney general to reform the agency after the release of new racist texts between its officers.

Newly released lyrics show Torrance cops joking about urinating on a black girl and a dead black father. Earlier text messages show officers also boasted about using excessive force and made it reckless to get caught by internal affairs.

California prosecutors launched an investigation in December when the first text messages were released. However, the Los Angeles Times reports that the second installment of nearly 400 texts was discovered on officers’ phones during an investigation and included in recent court documents.

The Torrance Police Department Headquarters is at 3300 Civic Center Dr., Torrance, California. (Photo: Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“The commitment to change and reform on the part of the City of Torrance and the Torrance Police Department is evident every day,” Torrance Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ron Salary wrote in an Aug. 25 statement. “Our officers strive to restore trust in every interaction.”

In one of the texts, sent between July 2018 and February 2020, officials laughed at a message about a man urinating on a black girl they reportedly dubbed the N-word.

“Where’s the crime?” asked an official.

Officers also called black inmates “savages,” “moon crickets,” and “monkeys” and boasted about hitting them.

“Caught them pretty well on takedown. She’s got a decent shine on her face,” one official wrote.

In another news thread, officers complained about protesters gathering outside the building because police had killed a black man, Christopher DeAndre Mitchell. The officers who shot Mitchell reportedly joked about throwing a gun cleaning party once her identity was revealed.

“Gun cleaning party at my house if they post my name?” asked one.

“Let’s all just post in your garden with lawn chairs in one [firing] Squad,” another officer replied.

In another text, officials appear to be making fun of a dead man’s son.

“His son will now grow up without a father. Oh, by the way, (sic) it’s standard in every African American family not to have a father. He will be fine.”

The previously redacted documents also contained several other mentions of the N-word, racist cartoons by Black and Hispanic residents, and comments about the lynching of suspects and the killing of Black children.

Torrance Mayor George Chen told the Daily Breeze the lyrics were “appalling and disturbing”.

“The Police Department and the California Department of Justice have already opened an investigation, and we must allow this process to continue to the end,” Chen said. “I am confident that the police force under Chief (Jeremiah) Hart will aggressively ensure that racism, bigotry and hatred have no place in our police force.”

Authorities found the texts while investigating officers Christopher Tomsic and Cody Weldin for spray-painting a swastika on a vehicle. The messages are conversations between Tosmic, Weldin and 15 other officers. Tosmic and Weldin have since left the force and pleaded guilty to charges related to the vandalism incident.

In a message, an official shared photos of tiny coffins for the black children who would “put them down.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that the city has up to a year after the text messages were discovered to discipline officers under state law. Prosecutors reportedly uncovered the text messages last August. However, it is unclear when city officials received them.

In his statement, Salary cited a memorandum of understanding between the City of Torrance and the Department of Justice, which he says “reminds us of our absolute commitment to change while maintaining our focus on public safety.”

Local Black Lives Matter organizer Baba Akili doubts the department will address the issue.

“They took the ostrich approach. If an article comes out or something that’s…clearly inevitable, they’ll react,” he said. “But other than that, they stick their heads in the sand and carry on as before, as if nothing had happened.”

The Police Department has confirmed that 15 officers have been placed on administrative leave over the SMS scandal. Reports also show that at least 113 cases involving the officers have been dropped by city and county prosecutors.

Local activist Sheila Bates, who has accused some of the officers in the attack, said the department “can’t hold these officers accountable … They can’t protect the public.”

“They cannot protect their black residents,” she added. Probe uncovers vile text messages from Torrance Police Department calling detainees “monkeys” and joking about a man urinating on a black child

James Brien

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