Racist text messages by Antioch police released by DA

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More racist text messages between Antioch police officers were released on Monday when the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office had its second investigative report to the media. 

The racist text messages were sent and received by certain Antioch Police Department officers in 2020 and 2021. 

A judge ordered the DA’s Office to disclose the redacted investigative reports to defense attorneys whose clients were arrested by the police officers named in the reports. 

According to prosecutors, the redactions are made to balance public interest with the sensitive nature of the reports. 

The texts were described by Police Chief Steve Ford as “racially abhorrent.”

Officers were on-duty and using their cellphones to exchange text messages containing racial slurs. 

Officers referred to Black people as “zoo” and “circus” animals.

The report revealed several messages, such as: 

  • “Bro the circus is in town… but it seems they only brought monkeys,” written by Officer Aaron Hughes wrote on May 4, 2020. 
  • “Sooo many black people,” written by Officer Eric Rombough wrote on March 25, 2021, with Officer Jonathan Adams replying with a “Bro. They all look the same.”
  • “He got his a** whooped in the back yard and I field goal kicked his head. I tried to knock him unconscious,” written by Officer Eric Rombough on March 31, 2021.
  • “I’m only stopping them cuz they black,” written by Officer Eric Rombough on November 22, 2021. 

Seventeen Antioch police officers are named in the two investigation reports:

  • Sergeant Josh Evans
  • Sergeant Rick Hoffman (President of the Antioch Police Officers’ Association)
  • Officer Eric Rombough
  • Detective Robert Gerber
  • Officer Jonathan Adams
  • Officer Morteza Amiri
  • Officer Scott Duggar
  • Officer Tom Smith
  • Officer Brock Marcotte
  • Officer Timothy Manly Williams
  • Officer Aaron Hughes
  • Officer Brayton Milner
  • Officer Calvin Prieto
  • Officer John Ramirez
  • Officer Andrea Rodriguez
  • Officer Kyle Smith
  • Officer Devon Wenger

The FBI and District Attorney’s Office are investigating Antioch police officers suspected of committing “crimes of moral turpitude” and criminal offenses. 

“Moral turpitude” is a legal term used for describing, “wicked, deviant behavior constituting an immoral, unethical, or unjust departure from ordinary social standards such that it would shock a community,” according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.