SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The investigation into use of force by jail guards in Santa Clara County has revealed a series of racist and offensive text messages sent by deputies.

At least a dozen Santa Clara County jail guards here exchanged racist text messages over the past year, many of which contained racial slurs and references to violence mostly against African-Americans but also Latinos, Vietnamese and Jews. Other texts reportedly applaud violence against minority inmates.

“For anyone to think in this manner or to act in this manner, I think is abhorrent, and particularly someone who wears a badge,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

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Smith told KCBS the texts could lead to the firing of the deputies who have been put on administrative leave.

“Our investigation is nearly completed, but if what we find is true, I don’t believe that anyone with these kinds of attitudes belong in law enforcement,” said Smith.

Smith also said the text messages were uncovered prior to the beating death of a jail inmate allegedly by three jail guards. Those deputies are not among those accused of exchanging the messages.

A series of racist and homophobic text messages sent by more than a dozen San Francisco police officers prompted the creation of a task force earlier this year to review some 3,000 cases potentially tainted by the officers’ actions.

 

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