VALLEJO (CBS SF) — Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams confirmed Monday that his department has ordered an outside investigation into the alleged use of a swastika by an employee.
While not divulging exactly where the swastika appeared, Williams said “it was brought to my attention that a VPD employee’s communications contained the image of a swastika.”
“Following a preliminary review of the matter, I ordered an outside investigation into the incident, which is currently in progress,” he added.
Williams called the use of the swastika a universal symbol of hate and racism.
“Racism will not be tolerated in our department, a swastika is a universal symbol of hate and racism and is not accepted here,” he said. “Anyone who would imply or suggest otherwise is tone deaf and dishonors the memories and lives of millions of Jewish people and others who died during the Holocaust; they dishonor thousands of innocent Americans who have been lynched and murdered in America and they devalue the suffering and struggles that our country is facing today.”
“Swastikas and other hate symbols of racism have no place in American Policing today,” he added. “When we talk about making a shift in culture that is rooted in equity and justice, this is the type of behavior we cannot turn a blind eye to.”
It was just the latest in a series of incidents that have cast a long shadow over the department.
Last week, the department fired Ofc. Ryan McMahon, who fatally shot Ronell Foster in 2018 and was one of six officers involved in the fatal shooting of Willie McCoy last year.
Williams already recommended McMahon’s termination back in March, but officially fired him after an Internal Affairs investigation concluded that he “violated department policies by engaging in unsafe conduct and neglect for basic firearm safety.”
“Any conduct outside the level of professionalism this City deserves will not be tolerated by the Vallejo Police Department,” Chief Williams said at the time. “I understand we have a long way to go in rebuilding trust among the residents of Vallejo and I will continue to take the necessary steps to better serve this community.”
The firing came as a number of deadly shootings by Vallejo police has led Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to begin a review of the department to recommend reforms to use-of-force policies and measures involving bias and community policing.