TORRANCE, Calif. – The Torrance Police Department said Thursday it will cooperate with the state attorney general’s office in an investigation of allegations of racial bias among officers at the department.
The agreement, dated June 15, was announced in a news release by the department. The memorandum of understanding between the city of Torrance and the state Department of Justice was posted on Twitter.
The memorandum “clearly memorializes our absolute commitment to change while maintaining our focus on public safety,” the department stated in the release.
“The City of Torrance and the Torrance Police Department is committed to police reform, transparency and building trust with the public,” according to the department.
“In an effort to create the change necessary to improve the Torrance Police Department and to achieve these goals, we reached out to the California Department of Justice to build a collaborative partnership with them to leverage their ability to assist the department.”
In December, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced his office would investigate the Torrance PD in the wake of a scandal that revealed more than a dozen police officers had exchanged racist text messages for years, joked about using violence against suspects and mocked the idea that internal affairs might catch them.
Bonta’s announcement came shortly after the Los Angeles Times published an investigation revealing more than a dozen Torrance police officers had exchanged racist and antisemitic texts and images that were uncovered as part of a criminal investigation into two former officers.
Bonta’s review, however, had been in the works before the story was published, the Times said.
The AG said at the time that while the texts would be at the “heart” of the probe, the investigation would be broad in scope and could include policy reviews and, if necessary, criminal charges against individual officers.
Earlier this year, in response to a court filing from officers implicated in the scandal, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office submitted an exhibit containing all 390 “anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic or transphobic remarks” allegedly made by the officers between 2018 and 2020, according to the Times.
Bonta’s office filed a subpoena in May for thousands of pages of Torrance police records.
The Torrance police news release states that misconduct will not be tolerated.
“We understand that we are fortunate to have the opportunity to improve this police department and take this responsibility very seriously,” the department said.