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Council Member Lamar Thorpe seeks 8 immediate policy reforms

Antioch, CA (June 8, 2020) -- In the wake of the senseless murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers, Antioch City Councilmember Lamar Thorpe today outlined his agenda for police reform in the City of Antioch.

Councilmember Thorpe fully endorses the enactment of eight specific policy recommendations that are part of the national 8 Can’t Wait Campaign. Two of eight recommendations are policy in Antioch. Thorpe is calling on Antioch Chief of Police to enact the remaining six.

“Something is happening with the consciousness of America. People all over the country and here in Antioch are saying ‘enough is enough,’ and they expect change,” Thorpe said. “After 15 days of sustained protest, demonstrations and civil unrest, it’s time to take action, before one more senseless killing takes place. Let’s think globally and act locally.”

The most controversial of the remaining six recommendations is the banning of chokeholds and strangleholds, including a technique Antioch police use called the carotid restraint, which involves placing pressure on a person’s neck to restrict blood flow. In an independent autopsy, medical examiners determined that pressure placed on Floyd's carotid artery impeded blood flow to his brain and contributed to his death.

More than a dozen California cities have banned carotid restraints following Floyd’s murder. Assembly Bill 119, introduced last week by state Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, would make the carotid restraint illegal in California. Thorpe is calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign the bill.

Following are the eight policy recommendations:

  1. Ban police use of chokeholds and strangleholds, including the carotid restraint

  2. Require officers to de-escalate situations whenever possible

  3. Require officers to exhaust all options before shooting, including less lethal force

  4. Ban officers from shooting at moving vehicles

  5. Establish a use of force continuum that restricts using the most severe force to most extreme situations

  6. Require comprehensive reporting for each time an officer fires or points their weapon at someone

  7. Require verbal warnings before using deadly force (already an Antioch policy)

  8. Require officers to intervene to stop excessive force by other officers (already an Antioch policy)

At the Tuesday, June 9, 2020 Antioch Council meeting, Councilmember Thorpe will call for the formation of a City Council Ad-Hoc Committee on Police Reforms to be composed of council members, legal advisers, police leaders, police union representatives and community advocates. The role of the committee will be to examine potential long term reforms in the following areas:

  1. Demilitarize our local police

  2. Increase police accountability

  3. Improve police hiring practices

  4. Excessive use of force

  5. Budget appropriations

“While it’s important for our city to take immediate preventative steps, such as banning use of carotid restraints, creating successful police reforms will require the involvement of the entire community,” Thorpe said. “The ad-hoc committee approach is one of the best tools we have as city councilmembers to create lasting policy change that works.”

Additionally, Councilmember Thorpe has signed “My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Pledge”, which asks local officials to:

  1. Review the police use of force policies in my community

  2. Engage my community by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in our review

  3. Report the findings of our review to my community and seek feedback within 90 days of signing this pledge

  4. Reform my community’s police use of force policies based on findings

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