“She sounds hot!!!” he wrote in a group text with other officers published this week by the Sacramento Bee. “In this cold chill, I bet she got some hard nipples!!!”
He added, “If she’s going to insist I going topless, she needs to get her some 44 DDs!!!”
The texts reviewed by the Bee, which police say were sent between January and August last year, were also often violent, sexual and disparaging to women and included officers joking about beating up protesters and suggesting they would like to shoot a suspect in the face.
“Upon learning the details of the content in these reported communications I … was deeply saddened and disturbed,” Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said in a statement on Facebook, noting the department was still investigating the “veracity” of the messages. “While the exchange that reportedly occurred between officers was something that appears to have taken place on private devices, the subject matter discussed professional duties and was profoundly upsetting.”
Neither Reyna-Sanchez nor Officer Mark Meftah commented to the Bee. The Washington Post was not able to reach them late Wednesday.
Dealing with the homeless has been a fraught issue in Eureka, a city of about 27,000 in Northern California. According to a 2019 grand jury report, there were more than 650 homeless people in the city and 57 percent had been diagnosed with mental illness. The report accused police, along with city officials, of criminalizing the homeless by giving citations, which the grand jury called “counterproductive” and leading to more “mental anguish.”
The Bee reported it received photographs of the group texts by Eureka police from an individual who requested anonymity, and it published some of these exchanges online.
The group message reportedly consisted of six officers, all from the same squad, which was supervised by Reyna-Sanchez. Meftah and Reyna-Sanchez’s violent messages go back to January 2020, the Bee reported, when the officers spoke contemptuously about protesters.
“There’s supposed to be a protest at the courthouse from 1700 to 1900 for the ‘war in Iran’ … confirm u all have ur riot gear?? Gas mask, helmet, and dude handle,” Reyna-Sanchez wrote.
“I’ll beat those f—— hippies down,” Meftah wrote to the group.
“Why don’t I have a side handle??” Reyna-Sanchez responded, referring to a police baton.
In April, Reyna-Sanchez reportedly ranted about a suspect who posted bail after police found his stash of guns. The suspect also had Reyna-Sanchez’s tactical vest.
“He also had one of my tac vests that I had loaned to code enforcement!! Face shoot the f—–!!!” the sergeant wrote, according to texts reviewed by the Bee. “He was one of my first arrests!!! Sent him to prison for a minute!!”
Reyna-Sanchez’s comment to “face shoot” the man comes 10 years after he fatally shot a 25-year-old robbery suspect in the head after he pointed his gun at an officer. Reyna-Sanchez was cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting.
There are also extensive comments that degrade women, the Bee reported. In messages about a new female officer-in-training joining their squad, Reyna-Sanchez expressed his annoyance by using vulgar and disparaging language.
“Seems the powers that be feel E Watch is too green to correct any issues that she has, and she had a lot of issues … so they’re putting her on days so that all u veteran officers can unf— her …” Reyna-Sanchez wrote.
Then, in a response to an officer about the assignment, Reyna-Sanchez said: “Clearly they don’t see what I see … b—- be twice as big as u!!”
In another exchange, an officer said he spotted a mentally ill woman who had a record of shoplifting walking in town.
“Get pics of her rack!!” Reyna-Sanchez wrote, according to messages reviewed by the Bee, before adding more texts disparaging her body.
In April, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread through the country, the pair joked about blowing off requests from public health officials to perform wellness checks on residents who may have covid, the Bee reported.
“My plan if I had to go there was to knock as lightly as humanly possible on the door, give him an eighth of a second to answer, and then leave,” Meftah wrote.
“The public health dr suggested we go there, knock loud and step back when he came to the door!!! Nice plan b—-!!! I’ll be right behind u!!!” Reyna-Sanchez replied.
Later, Reyna-Sanchez sent an update and referred a covid patient as an “outbreak monkey.”
Watson, the police chief, said in a statement that he was shocked to see the messages and “deeply concerned” that they would cause residents to question the “professionalism” of his officers. He noted that in recent years the department has invested in trainings on implicit bias, diversity and crisis intervention.
“What has been reported, unequivocally, does NOT meet the professional standards to which we hold our public servants,” Watson said. “Transparency and accountability are required in the positions we fill, and you have my word that we won’t rest as we keep working to achieve the standard our community expects.”