The Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office confirmed Wednesday that it has more than 100 cases that involve city of Torrance police officers accused of exchanging hateful and racist text messages, the LA Times reported.
The daily reported Wednesday that the employees accused in the accusations were almost solely non-white, making up just 6 percent of the department’s roughly 350 officers. Several of the officers had allegedly exchanged anti-Semitic messages.
The woman who made the allegations, 44-year-old Reta Lawson, who also is a Torrance city councilwoman, was reportedly able to obtain the text messages through a police notebook that was placed in a dumpster, which she found in the summer. She had been a Torrance police detective for more than eight years, but was fired when she shared the messages with a lawyer working with her and she sued the city.
The city has refused to release the text messages, including the materials in the notebook, saying the information is confidential personnel information.
The public defender’s office said it has launched its own investigation.
The Torrance city attorney has said the city did not violate state labor law and that the case is unlikely to go to trial.
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