Advisory: This article contains inflammatory racist language.
A San Jose police officer resigned early last week after an internal police investigation uncovered racist messages sent by the officer after he shot and wounded a young black man last year.
In a statement released Friday night, San Jose Police Chief Anthony Meta said a text sent by former officer Mark McNamara said, “I hate black people.”
“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,” said Mata in a statement released Friday at 6:10pm.
Text messages sent to two unnamed recipients by McNamara, who is white, discussed a March 27, 2022, shooting incident at La Victoria Taqueria near San Jose State University when the officer shot K’aun Green, who had disarmed one person involved in a fight and was backing out of the front door holding up a confiscated handgun when McNamara opened fire.
Green, a former high school football star, was shot four times in the back, abdomen and arm.
Mata said Green in April 2022 sued McNamara, the police department and the city, contending he was an innocent bystander and was the victim of excessive use of force.
Adante Pointer, a lawyer representing Green in the lawsuit, said Green was a Contra Costa College sophomore quarterback at the time of the shooting but would not be able to realize his dreams of playing professional football because of his injuries.
Mata said simply that McNamara “is no longer employed with the city,” and did not say whether he was asked to resign, whether he would retain his pension – adding that the former officer would face no criminal charges in connection with the shooting.
“At this time, I am prohibited by law from providing certain additional details, but I am providing this disclosure in real time,” said Mata. “I can also say that criminal charges have not been filed nor are anticipated at this time.”
In a Nov. 5 statement, Mata said, "These messages came to light in the last few days and hours, and that officer is no longer employed with the city."
“There is zero tolerance for even a single expression of racial bias at the San Jose Police Department," Mata said in his statement.
“The messages were found due to the expansion of our Internal Affairs Unit's efforts to thoroughly investigate all questionable conduct," the police chief said. "I made it clear last year when I expanded our investigation systems that we would be proactive and transparent in identifying patterns of policy violations. This is the promised accountability resulting from that work.”
Mata said that an employee whom he did not name had "engaged in other concerning dialogue with the former officer" had been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
A transcript of some of the text messages made available by the Police Department showed an exchange of messages peppered with racial slurs.
“(Racial epithet) wanted to carry a gun in the Wild West,” said one text sent March 28, 2022. “Not on my watch haha.”
In a June 23 text message, the writer criticized “African lookin’ “ people who were taking notes about his testimony in the lawsuit.
"They should all be bowing to me and bringing me gifts since I saved a fellow (racial epithet) by making him rich as f---. Otherwise he woulda lived a life of poverty and crime,” McNamara wrote.
In a federal lawsuit filed April 6, 2022, Green, identified then as a 20-year-old student at Contra Costa College, accused San Jose police of excessive force in shooting him four times.
In the lawsuit, Green said he was a customer in the taqueria when a gunman pointed a weapon at him and other customers. He disarmed the gunman and was fighting his way out of the front door, with the weapon's barrel pointed up, when police coming up behind him fired without warning.
Green was shot twice in the arm, once in the knee, and once in the abdomen, according to the lawsuit. He was not charged with a crime, the suit says.
Surveillance video from the restaurant released by police at the time showed two groups of men involved in a fight. One of the men had a gun that changed hands between combatants at least twice during the melee.
When the fight moved outside of the restaurant, police saw a man with a handgun and said they asked him to drop the gun. One officer fired shots that hit the man, who was taken to a hospital with non-lethal injuries.
The name of the officer was not released by the city or police officials at the time.
“There is nothing more sickening than a person in power abusing their position,” Mayor Matt Mahan said in the same statement as Mata's. “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.”
The San Jose Police Officers' Association said in a statement that the disclosure of the text messages last week was "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,” union president Steve Slack said in a statement. “Our union believes that racism, and those who perpetrate it, have no place in our city and no place in law enforcement.”
“I stand with Chief Mata and all the officers of the San Jose Police Department who serve our community. There is no room for racial bias in our City. Our community and workforce deserve better,” said City Manager Jennifer Maguire in a statement. “In an organization of close to 7,000 full-time equivalent employees, it is paramount that we safeguard our community from any person who does not hold themselves to the highest professional standards and has not adhered to our policies.”
Green’s lawyer said the released text messages included threats to shoot the lawyers suing him for excessive use of force.
In a statement Saturday, Adante Pointer, the Oakland-based civil rights attorney for K'Aun Green,
In the messages, Pointer said, McNamara repeatedly used the N-word to describe the victim and his attorneys and said he would shoot the lawyers representing Green.
“Think I give a f--- what y'all N*** think?!???? I'll shoot you too!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!!" McNamara wrote in a June 23 text exchange with a fellow officer, said Pointer. He said the comment followed a deposition McNamara gave as attorneys prepared a civil rights lawsuit.
McNamara "now seeks to aim his racial animus at Mr. Green's attorneys, several of whom are Black," Pointer said.
“Given his deep-seated racist beliefs, McNamara should never be given the privilege of carrying a badge and gun again, nor be placed in any position where those beliefs can be weaponized against Black people," Pointer said in his statement.
San Jose Inside contributed to this report.