A San Jose police officer has been forced to leave the department after he sent “disgusting” racist text messages after a shooting at a restaurant last year.
San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said in a statement on Friday that an internal investigation found that now-ex-officer Mark McNamara had sent the inappropriate messages following a brawl and shooting at La Victoria Taqueria in downtown San Jose on 27 March 2022.
“Earlier this week, through an unrelated criminal investigation into one of our officers, Internal Affairs Investigators discovered that the officer had sent disgusting text messages that demonstrated racial bias,” Chief Mata said. “Immediately, Internal Affairs initiated a separate proactive administrative investigation. These messages came to light in the last few days and hours and that officer is no longer employed with the City.”
Mr McNamara, a white officer, had spent six years with the department and was involved in the shooting that came after a large brawl broke out at the taqueria last year. Two days after the brawl, police revealed that an officer had discharged his weapon, shooting the man who had disarmed a gunman involved in the restaurant fight, CBS News Bay Area reported.
A subsequent probe found that the officer who had shot patron K’uan Green was Mr McNamara.
Mr Green was playing football for Contra Costa College at the time after attending and playing for Oakland McClymonds High School. He was shot four times and has sued the city.
The text messages that led to Mr McNamara’s ouster were sent to an unnamed officer during a discussion about the shooting at the restaurant and the following investigation and the hearings held probing the incident.
“N**** wanted to carry a gun in the Wild West,” Mr McNamara wrote the night after the shooting. “Not on my watch haha.”
The other texts were sent in June and July, months after the March shooting, when hearings were held.
“I hate black people,” one of the messages from July stated.
“These texts were uncovered because of systems I put into place over a year ago, including a personal commitment that only officers who live up to our standards and values wear a San Jose PD badge,” Chief Mata said. “There is zero tolerance for even a single expression of racial bias at the San José Police Department. The messages were found due to the expansion of our Internal Affairs Unit’s efforts to thoroughly investigate all questionable conduct and is why we have made investments in a new early warning system.”
The chief added that another “current employee” had been placed “immediately placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation” after the employee had been found to have been a part of the exchange of messages.
Chief Mata said he’s “prohibited by law from providing certain additional details,” but added that he made public what he could.
He said that charges “have not been filed nor are anticipated” against Mr McNamara or the unnamed officer.
“If any employee’s racial bias rears its ugly head, rest assured that I will take immediate action to ensure they are not part of this organization,” the chief said.
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan shared his support of the police chief in a statement.
“There is nothing more sickening than a person in power abusing their position,” he said. “I will sleep better tonight knowing that this individual is no longer carrying a badge and gun. Assuming these allegations are upheld, he should face the full consequences of his actions. Despite this officer’s reprehensible conduct, we have the best police department in the nation and to keep it that way, we are going to fire any employee who does not show appropriate respect for every resident. This mutual respect is the foundation of a successful public safety effort — and we are going to work every day to keep building it.”
The San Jose Police Officers’ Association, which represents officers in the city, said in a statement that the texts are a “disconcerting reminder that not everyone has the moral compass necessary to be in the law enforcement profession. This behavior is beyond unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms”.
“This incident represents the actions of an individual. It is not a reflection of those of us who serve with honor and who treat every member of our community with the respect and dignity they deserve,” the association added. “If these allegations are true, then this individual must face the sternest consequences possible. Our union believes that racism, and those who perpetrate it, have no place in our city and no place in law enforcement.”
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