San Jose police officer resigns after 'disgusting' racist text messages released

Officer McNamara's messages referenced the shooting of a Black college athlete.

November 6, 2023, 9:22 PM

A San Jose police officer has resigned after the police department found numerous "disgusting text messages that demonstrated racial bias," according to a statement by the San Jose Police Department (SJPD). The text messages related to a 2022 shooting incident in which the officer shot a college football player who had wrestled a gun from a perpetrator during a fight in a local taqueria.

In the statement released on Friday, the SJPD identified Mark McNamara as the officer, saying the department found the messages during an unrelated criminal investigation into one of their officers.

"There is zero tolerance for even a single expression of racial bias at the San Jose Police Department," San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said in the statement. Chief Mata added that the investigation "also determined that a current employee who was on the receiving end of some of the messages engaged in other concerning dialogue with the former officer."

The other employee, who has not been identified by the SJPD, was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, according to the statement.

In March 2022, then 20-year-old K’aun Green, who is Black, was at a taqueria in San Jose when a fight ensued. One of the perpetrators pulled out a gun which Green wrestled out of his hands. He was then shot four times by McNamara, who was responding to the scene, as Green was backing out the door of the taqueria.

In one message sent in the aftermath of the shooting, McNamara, who is white, said he was "just out here clappin fools," a term Green’s lawyer, civil rights attorney Adanté Pointer, said is a slang term for "shooting gangsters."

"I’m still processing," Green, now 22, said on Sunday during a press conference, speaking publicly for the first time since the text messages were released. "I never thought somebody could just have that much hatred in their heart to where they would want to kill me just ‘cause of what I look like."

PHOTO: K'aun Green was shot four times by San Jose police officer Mark McNamara
K'aun Green was shot four times by San Jose police officer Mark McNamara
Pointer & Buelna LLP

Following the shooting, Green filed a federal lawsuit against McNamara, SJPD and the City of San Jose for excessive force and the city’s related liability in the incident.

In another message sent by McNamara after he was deposed by Green’s legal team, he said "I hate Black people." In the 10-page document released by the SJPD containing McNamara’s text messages, he frequently used racial slurs when referring to Green and his legal team.

Green, who was a college football player at Contra Costa College and still dreams of a career in the NFL, said during the press conference he had to sit out the entire 2022 football season and has been suffering from depression since the shooting.

"Honestly, that was probably the worst time of my life," he said. "I don’t know if I’ll ever run, jump or anything the same way. I used to be able to dunk a basketball, I can barely jump off my left leg now. Everything pretty much hurts, but just because I don't want to go through any more depression or just be so down on myself, I just forced myself to play."

PHOTO: K'aun Green was a football player at Contra Costa at the time of the shooting.
K'aun Green was a football player at Contra Costa at the time of the shooting.
Courtesy Don Collier/The Guardsman via Pointer & Buelna LLP

"I think about it every day. Where I could be, where I would have been if it’d never happened," Green told ABC News when asked about the shooting. "There’s never a night where I could just sleep peacefully."

Green and his legal team are asking for accountability following the release of the messages.

"Officer McNamara should be being criminally prosecuted for shooting K'aun Green. He should be led into court in handcuffs facing an attempted murder charge," Pointer said. "The United States Attorney's Office should also be looking into this unlawful, unwarranted, unjustified and apparently premeditated attempted murder and looking at this as a hate crime for what officer McNamara attempted to do and did do to Mr. Green."

Pointer also said they demanded the San Jose Police Department and the City of San Jose release all the text messages related to McNamara.

"We believe there is more there," he said.

The San Jose Police Officers Association confirmed to ABC News that McNamara had resigned after six years with the SJPD.

"The recent announcement of racist text messages by a former police officer is a disconcerting reminder that not everyone has the moral compass necessary to be in the law enforcement profession," Steve Slack, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, said in a statement. "This behavior is beyond unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms."

The trial in the federal lawsuit against McNamara, SJPD and the City of San Jose is expected to start in Spring 2024.

Mark McNamara and the San Jose Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

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