Racism and Hate behind the Blue Wall: Exposing Secret Law Enforcement Facebook Groups

Racist, Islamophobic, Xenophobic comments posted on Facebook by retired and current San Jose Police Department.

I am the partner of an active law enforcement officer in a San Francisco Bay Area police department. For the sake of my safety and my family’s safety, I have chosen to remain anonymous. Reading Shaun King’s recent Medium article about a secret law enforcement Facebook page planning to assassinate him has required my conscience to expose a San Jose Police Department (SJPD) private FB page. It’s called “10–7ODSJ.”

San Jose cops, both retired and active, use “10–7ODSJ” as a platform to freely express their true thoughts and ideas, something they defend as their First Amendment right. However, in closely reading their posts, it is very disturbing to find how much hate, prejudice and racism they harbor. The constant going back and forth among the officers pump each other up….and in the case of Shaun King, to the point of planning an assassination.

Billy Dishman, a retired SJPD sergeant, is listed as one of the officers involved with planning an assassination against King. Dishman is friends with William Rockmiller, a retired SJPD cop and a member of “10–7ODSJ.” Rockmiller recently posted about Black Lives Matter, describing them as “racist idiots,” “un-American” and “enemies” that the police “swore an oath against.” He condemns any of his FB friends who support BLM and completes his post with multiple expletives. In reading his post, one can hear and feel the depth of hatred that Rockmiller has for BLM and their supporters. It is the very same hatred that fueled another private law enforcment group to plan an assasination against King.

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

The hatred that these cops have for Black lives is seen in many other public posts. In this post by retired SJPD officer, Brian Chevalier, Dishman comments how the mayors are “dumber than rocks,” and current SJPD motor officer, Mark Pimental comments, “Black lives don’t really matter.”

While the above FB posts are public, we can only imagine what cops share on secret groups. Let’s take a look at one “10–7ODSJ” post. Rockmiller posted about a Los Angeles Muslim woman, whose hijab, a head covering, was pulled off by a male cop. His post drew opinions from fellow “10–7ODSJ” officers, giving us a peek into how some of SJPD really feel about the Muslim community.

“Pure bullshit. If your incarcerated you don’t get to wear your religious outfits,” Retired Officer David Madsen argues.

“Hell, I would have pulled it over her face,” says Officer Mark Pimental, currently with San Jose Police’s Motor Unit.

“I say re-purpose the hijabs into nooses,” challenges Retired officer Michael Nagel. Nagel also posted an offensive image of a “Sharia Barbie,” who has a black eye, and comes with a hijab, bruises, a Quran, and stoning accessories.

It is obvious what these officers think about Muslims and we must question how these cops applied their racist views while in uniform. For example, how many times has Officer Pimental pulled over a women with a hijab for “speeding” or a “broken tail-light?” I’d like to know how he turns off his explicit belief that “black lives don’t really matter” as he uses his ‘discretion’ to pull people over or give them a ticket.

This is just a small snapshot of “10–7ODSJ.” While the contents of this secret FB page may be entitled to confidentiality, it is crucial to consider and address the explicit values and beliefs that police officers have and how it affects their role in enforcing the law. Can an officer who professes to pull a woman’s hijab over her head or that black lives don’t really matter be trusted to equally enforce the law?

In continuining to examine active SJPD officers’ public FB posts, it is even more troublesome that they would feel so emboldened to express their hateful views on a public platform.

Officer Steven Wilson, who recently retired but may be working as a reserve officer, posted how he believed the man, who assisted the hurt officer is an “idiot” and deserved for his eye to be injured during the recent downtown San Jose protest. It is no wonder that Officer Jared Yuen acted the way he did when other officers like Wilson share similar views. Is it possible that Yuen isn’t a rogue officer but perhaps, represents a sub-culture existing at the department? A sub-culture that says, “Break the curfew law. Here’s a rubber bullet.” A sub-culture that perhaps manipulates the laws and policies to exert their explicit values through ‘justified’ excessive force. Yuen was described as a “good kid,” and if he is SJPD’s version of good, it’s very frightening to imagine what bad looks like.

In 2010, when Wilson was still an active officer, he posted on how to properly set off a roadside bomb in fulfilling one’s desire “for jihad.”

His post garnered prejudiced and stereotyped responses from other active officers, including Sergeant Rick Foster, “Dude Inshallah….Uh we had an IED go off on some “volunteers” God is Great!” and Officer Ryan Welch, “Does that mean they don’t get their 40 virgins? Maybe like 20 who just lost their virginity.”

SJPD’s policy states that supervisors are required to report any racial or religious harassment and discrimination. Yet Sgt. Foster failed to report and even participated in this degrading post. It is hard not to wonder whether their flawed ideas of the Muslim community affected their policing as well as how they treated other Muslim officers.

Sergeant Chris Sciba posted a graphic image on Facebook that racially profiles and stereotypes all Muslims as being terrorists. Sciba’s post was back in 2015. The hypocrisy in this is that Sgt. Sciba is currently assigned to the Training Unit, where he teaches about race-bias policing to Academy students, officers, sergeants, lieutenants AND captains. Does SJPD feel that this post is acceptable and does not go against their policies of enforcing a workplace free of hostility and discrimination? Obviously, that they hired Sciba to teach on the very subject of race-bias policing, we have to ask if SJPD shares the same view that Sciba has on Muslims, and allows such racist stereotypes to exist. After all, not even the lieutenants or captains told Sciba that his post is inappropriate. How can we know that Sciba hasn’t infused his anti-Muslim sentiments into the classes he teaches? How do we know that officers who took his class and see his post aren’t saying, “Well if Sgt. Sciba is okay with calling all Muslims terrorists, it must be okay with the work policy, right?”

Last May 2019, Sergeant Fabrice Bellini made a coin titled, “Stinkin Lincoln: To Hell and Back every Night,” referring to a district in San Jose, “District Lincoln,” consisting mostly of Hispanic, Vietnamese, and homeless populations. Stinkin’ Lincoln is a name applied to these people by SJPD, and is accompanied by feelings of disdain when an officer is assigned to work in this district, ‘the trash’ of San Jose. The coin was so popular that officers asked for coins for their entire team, a request Bellini enthusiastically said he can fulfill. That officers openly celebrate their disgust about these minority and marginalized groups through a coin, we should question the kind of policing that occurs in this district they call ‘hell.’

The posts I’ve shared are both recent as well as go back to 2010. Yet, Paul Kelly, the president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, said in an email addressed to members, that in all his years of service, he’s not worked with a racist cop and San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia has denied that systemic racism exists in his department. Currently, Chief Garcia is attempting to appease the community with initiatives, including the existing excessive force analysis study, and continuing more racial-biased police training while the SJPOA is promising to “root out racist cops.” However, SJPD already has policies and training in place, and Chief Garcia & Sgt. Kelly have the power to discipline and address racist officers. That they have remained silent about their officers’ and sergeant’s Facebook posts, we should question their complicity as well as their sincerity in reforming the SJPD.

Private Facebook pages such as “10–7ODSJ” must be exposed and the officers held accountable. The hate and racism they advocate and feed each other creates a group that should otherwise be labeled as a hate group. We are not fools to believe that a cop can turn off his explicitly racist views once he puts on his uniform. Individual officers who have boldly used Facebook to express their bigoted views must also be held accountable. To carry a gun and the power to enforce the law, all the while promoting racist, Islamophobic and xenophobic views on social media is unacceptable.

Even more disturbing than the posts itself is the lack of reporting among the police officers. Breaking the “Blue Wall of Silence” for fears of retaliation are legitimate feelings based on a history of whistleblowers at SJPD being ostracized. The SJPD must encourage and allow a work environment where officers can report colleagues who violate policies and laws without facing retaliation. This must especially be the case when officers and lower-ranked employees are reporting higher-ranked colleagues, as SJPD is a system built on seniority. The retaliation that police face is especially pernicious as it manifests as over-aggressive discipline for minor policy offenses, denials of transfer to a special unit or not promoting a qualified officer. Truly establishing protection for whistleblowers would raise ethical standards and hold the entire department to a standard the community expects and deserves.

While many are asking for police departments to be defunded, both San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Chief Garcia refuse defunding and recommend reform. Join me in demanding that the San Jose Mayor and City Council hold the San Jose Police Department accountable for the racism that exists within their police department. Demand that the leaders themselves who have turned a blind eye to this bigotry also be held responsible for a failure to take action. Demand that a system be instituted that does not persecute whistleblowers. Until these demands are met, there will be no meaningful change in our community if true reform WITHIN the police department does not occur.

📝 Save this story in Journal.

👩‍💻 Wake up every Sunday morning to the week’s most noteworthy stories in Tech waiting in your inbox. Read the Noteworthy in Tech newsletter.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store