Updated: Apr 9
Office of the Mayor:
On Saturday, Mayor Lamar Thorpe provided a video statement regarding the disclosure of racist texts in a felony case. The statement was recorded at Antioch City Hall.
Text of remarks:
On Friday afternoon, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Clare Maier released the names of 17 Antioch police officers who allegedly were unafraid to use racist language.
There are no words to express my profound disappointment especially given that one of the named officers serves as president of the Antioch Police Union.
While Antioch has worked hard to become one of the Bay Area's most racially diverse cities, this will undoubtedly leave an embarrassing stain on our community.
The culture at the Antioch Police Department is a problem and has long been a huge legal and financial liability for the city, which is on full display today.
The culture at the department requires further exploration including how the hell all of this alleged misconduct could go on for so long without anyone on the command staff noticing-- lieutenant and above.
Therefore, I'm calling for an independent investigation of the internal affairs process specifically looking at all complaints within the last 6 to 8 years from the nature of complaints to their dispositions.
I am also seriously concerned about complaints that have not been investigated and are now outside of the statute of limitations. I want a complete review of that as well.
Moreover, we need a complete independent audit of our hiring and promotions practices so that the Council can implement measures to better root out individuals with certain biases. This idea was part of my original police reform package that I presented to the City Council in 2020 but has yet to be examined.
Lastly, our police-reform efforts to this point are missing the forest for the trees because this is about culture. I agree with Vice Mayor Tamisha Torres-Walker on conducting some kind of police equity audit of the Antioch Police Department to measure bias in our enforcement efforts and ultimately pursue measures that help eliminate racist policies, practices, and behaviors.
We will hold anyone accountable that has allowed this culture to continue whether you've been here for a year or 20 years and regardless of your rank.
In my first 30 days in office, I had to deal with 2 in-custody deaths; in less than a year, a failed recall effort fueled by the idea of protecting the police department; then in year two I was hauled into the DA’s office to be briefed about a very serious FBI investigation of the Antioch Police Department; and now, on year three we’re dealing with alleged racism.
Our culture of acceptance is WRONG. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
The fact of the matter is that our goal of a strong police department will not materialize until every resident in our city regardless of race and socio-economic background can feel that they have a trusting relationship with our police officers.
If you’re a supporter of law enforcement you should support these reforms as they help separate officers who are committed to the badge and have played by the rules and those who have no business being police officers.