The L.A. Times' James Queally acquired texts sent by police officers in Torrance, Ca., which reveal they chatted openly about killing black children and used slurs to identify a black man they killed and his family.
Criminal cases in which the officers were involved continue to be dismissed, and at least one man has been released from prison. Lawsuits filed against officers involved have already cost Torrance more than $10 million. Still, most of the officers implicated remain employed by the city. The state attorney general's office filed a subpoena in May for thousands of pages of Torrance police records, but officials have declined to provide updates on the state investigation. Despite critics' calls for a civilian board to oversee the Police Department — as Los Angeles has — there's little evidence that Torrance officials have taken tangible steps toward reform since the scandal exploded.
Torrance Police Department fought tooth and claw to prevent its officers' racist communications becoming public. There's likely more to come, too, in a scandal that hit national media when officers spray-painted swastikas on cars but goes back many years in the details. The department sounds like a far-right street gang, all but untouchable in a town of 145,000 residents, finally being peeled off by prosecutors realizing how many convictions are going to get tossed.
As the L.A. Times describes it, the legal consequences will be settlements to victims—all paid by the local taxpayers, not the police.
Queally: "Only 3 of the roughly 17 officers we know are involved have lost their jobs. One of those cops doesn't even work in Torrance. Under California law, the statute of limitations to punish the officers expires this month."