top of page

 BPD Textgate Scandal 

What is the BPD Textgate Scandal?

In November 2022, racist, anti-homeless text message chains were revealed in the Berkeley Police Department Bike Force 

On November 14th, disturbing screen shots from a Berkeley Police Department (BPD) group chat, including members of the Department’s downtown bike task force, were released to the public.

 

Snapshots of the conversation reveal a culture of racism, profound anti-homeless sentiment, systemic overtime abuse and a policy of arrest quotas, which are illegal under California law.

 

In the leaked images, Sgt Darren Kacalek, president of the Police Union, jokes about a new viral strain of COVID killing unhoused people, mocks people of color’s use of social welfare systems and encourages his subordinates to meet a 100 arrest a month quota.

  What are our concerns?

  • A culture of racism and profound anti-homeless sentiment in the BPD

  • Systemic overtime abuse and a policy of arrest quotas, which are illegal under California law

  • Targeting of marginalized people in an effort to create inflated arrest statistics 

  • ​​Overtime used as an incentive to reward cops who increased their arrest statistics

  • The sheer number of arrests made by the Bike Force

  • Biases in arrests based on race, class, housing status

  • Lack of action and oversight on the part of BPD authority, particularly Interim Chief of Police Jen Louis, regarding this abuse

press to zoom

press to zoom
Screen Shot 2023-01-11 at 7.50.39 PM
Screen Shot 2023-01-11 at 7.50.39 PM

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/8
How is Copwatch responding?

What we've done - 

We put pressure on the City Council, helping to postpone the confirmation of Jen Louis as Chief of Police. 

Read our Letter to the Police Accountability Board

What we're doing - 

We are now in a process of gathering information and looking for plaintiffs for a class-action lawsuit. 

We are also working on demands for BPD following this incident. 

bottom of page