Home » Antioch Mayor Holds Press Conference on New Police Investigation

Antioch Mayor Holds Press Conference on New Police Investigation

by CC News
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe

On Thursday, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe held a press conference regarding a new in investigation which has resulted in several officers being placed on leave.

With an ongoing investigation, this means the Antioch Police Department becomes more short-staffed and was potentially going to call a special meeting with the police chief to ask tough questions. He also stated he had no problem making administrative changes within the city—meaning the firing of police chief Steve Ford was not off the table.

Thorpe did not get into the new investigation amid a report by the East Bay Times and said prior to the press conference he had not spoken with the police chief or knew police staffing levels or patrol numbers. This investigation is separate from the FBI investigation announced last March.

In a email to acting city manager Forrest Ebbs, he did not provide the data when asked twice and said it would be provided to the media at a later date.

Meanwhile, the Antioch Police Department is scheduled to have a Community Forum Thursday night with Chief Ford at Jack London Elementary School (4550 Country Hills) at 6:30 pm.

 

Summary of the Press Conference (may not be exact) and does not include the Q&A portion:

“As the mayor of Antioch, I have the unfortunate duty of sharing with you that on Monday, the city, uh, (long pause while he found his place on his notes) I received some information that has resulted, that has arisen from an ongoing invest, ongoing investigation of the Antioch Police Department that several additional officers have been place on administrative leave.

I know that since Tuesday, rumors have swirled about the number of officers who have been placed on administrative leave and the nature of this matter. Let me be very clear. I am not here to confirm the number of officers that are involved nor am I here to confirm any rumors or speculation about the nature of what was discovered. I respect and believe in the right to due process. It’s a fundamental value of our county and who we are as Americans.

In addition, we as a city have an obligation to ensure that these employees’ personnel records are being confidential to the extent that the law prescribes. We as a city have every intention of respecting confidentiality and due process.

That being said, we’re also not going to sweep these matters under the rug as we’ve done in the past and pretend that we and pretend that we have issues, that we have a few, that we have a few issues with a few bad apples. It is clear we have a cultural and systemic problems that persist to this very day.

As a result, the residents of our city are going to see, are going, are going to pay an excessive amount of money for potential support from outside law enforcement agencies, a loss of manpower, potential litigation’s, and outside independent investigations.

To say that I am outraged is an understatement as it relates to this matter. But I am also deeply disappointed. I’m deeply disappointed because for a long time, those of us who have been elected to serve in this very room behind me have failed to ask tough questions about what’s happening in our various city departments, including the police department.

I will say again what I said in a recent press conference—the Antioch Police Department is not an independent agency of its own. They are a city department that is held accountable by the city manager, the city council, and of course, our city’s residents. As you saw recently, I personally do not have a problem making any management changes if the people sitting in these chairs of authority cannot accept that reality. That goes for all positions from all of our departments including the Chief of Police all the way up on up to the City Manager.

Since advancing the idea of police ref, in a police reform ad hoc committee in 2020 when I was serving as a councilmember, the police union, MAGA republicans, local blogs, and political opponents have worked hard to paint me and others as anti-law enforcement for simply asking for accountability.

I want to make myself very clear in stating that for the record that I am very much pro-all of our departments, including law enforcement, which is why we gave all of our employees equal pay raises across the board. But being pro-law enforcement does not mean you turn a blind eye to allow bad behavior to persist. That’s not what the residents of our city deserve and equally is not what the hard-working police officers who play by the rules deserve as well.

This is undoubtedly impacting, this is undoubtedly going to impact staffing levels, which is not good. I have yet to be briefed on what the way forward will be, which is also not good. On that brief, I plan soon I will be calling a special meeting of the Antioch City Council where the Chief will be our special guest to answer all of these questions—specifically how we are going to maintain police service levels.”

Antioch Police Officers Association Response:

In response to Mayor Thorpe’s press conference, the APOA would like to assure the residents, visitors, and employees within the City of Antioch that public safety is, and will remain to be a top priority. The APOA respects due process and will not be commenting on the administrative investigation currently being conducted.

We stand by the hard working men and women of this organization and commend our officers for working diligently under the current staffing crisis, to provide the residents with a level of safety and service they deserve. We hope the administrative investigation is conducted in a timely manner, and we look forward to moving forward building our department back to where it once was, with regards to staffing.

We will not fall victim to the rhetoric of outside influences who aim to ridicule and discredit the hardworking members of the APOA, as it only gets in the way of the great relationship we have with the community of Antioch. To be clear, the APOA will continue to dedicate resources, make the necessary adjustments, and support our members who serve this community with dignity and respect.

A statement was issued by Antioch City Councilmember Mike Barbanica:

I had no idea from city staff about the recent APD developments. I learned of it this morning from a reporter and citizens alerting me to it. Apparently, the mayor was made aware yesterday and scheduled a press conference. This is unacceptable,” said Barbanica.

Check back for updates

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8 comments

Robert C. March 30, 2023 - 3:10 pm

So his press conference reveals essentially nothing and he has no hard information. Thus, there was no good reason for this press conference. Find out the facts first, Lamar. THEN speak to the public.

S March 30, 2023 - 5:58 pm

A questionable man; himself, he sure loves the spotlight.

Bill Moon March 30, 2023 - 4:47 pm

This guy must think we are all pretty stupid. Calling a press conference and you share nothing. Is this about TV time again Mr. Mayor?

Raw B March 30, 2023 - 6:10 pm

Coco Sheriff is going to have to step in to help staff soon. They can’t redline the few officers they have left for much longer.

Joe March 30, 2023 - 6:33 pm

When wíll the investigation start on Lamar found guilty of DUI cost the County hundreds of thousands dollars for sexual misconduct but nothing done to Lamar seems to be a hypocrite

MEV March 31, 2023 - 4:23 am

Lame Thorpe turned out to be 1000% loser and an embarrassment as Antioch Mayor, accomplishing memorable that I can think of except embarrassing Antioch. Lamar also treated APD’s former Chief Brooks badly instead of treating APD with the respect they earned and deserved or Chief Brooks would still be Antioch Police Chief and APD would still be fine and staffed with officers of quality who also left after Chief Brooks departed. Chief Brooks always properly vetted his officers when hiring officers and Antioch was really turning around but Lamar wouldn’t work with Brooks and was bent on defunding APD and taking away necessary tools APD needs to safely do their jobs. I hope Antioch voters get it together and elect a new Mayor and an entirely FRESH City Council. We need a change. Crime and public safety is out of control. Everybody on Antioch’s City Council has been there for too many years, or the one newer member who only cares about her radicalized self agenda and herself, rather than the community as a whole which is not appropriate, who has just brought more kaos also without accomplishing anything good for the City as a whole,

Mayor and City Council have not brought any new businesses or jobs except a couple of fast food chains, where 16 year old loses her eye job because of crazies allowed to walk around town. They haven’t helped current restaurants taking steps to prevent expensive break-ins, vandalism, huge losses from burglaries. City Council has done nothing to reduce out-of-control crime but instead encourage it with their lack of attention and bias towards police and citizens of some. What have any of them accomplished for Antioch? I can’t think of anything except shootings, residents being harassed, carjackings, people creeping around neighborhoods all hours of the late night stealing catalytic converters, and the out of control crime causing the few remaining businesses finally throw in the towel and close. Nothing being done to prevent out of control drugged out homelessness. E-BART and its dangerous, pedestrian crossings, bike unfriendly, unsafe, unsecured station instead of Antioch having getting thecregular BART station taxpayers paid for but Joel Keller was allowed to screw Antioch over with e-BART so BART could cut corners and get away with providing even worse, substandard service than they already do which is why the Amtrak train station should remain as a stop and the surrounding area improved.

Pittsburg seems to get much better candidates for Mayor and their City Council than Antioch does, why isn’t Antioch attracting the same quality candidates? Pittsburg has much more sense of community at their meetings too and their meetings are much more interesting than anything going on in Antioch which is always the same broken record of unsolved problems for the 10 years I have been here.

Antioch has great people but we’re always stuck with the same losers on the City Council and loser Mayors who can’t accomplish anything good or at all for Antioch. Kids should also have school resource officers returned to their schools too these days and better security. Students should be able to study instead of watching their backs all day preventing focus on learning the material and other skills needed to succeed.

MEV March 31, 2023 - 4:37 am

Lame Thorpe turned out to be 1000% loser and an embarrassment as Antioch Mayor, accomplishing memorable that I can think of except embarrassing Antioch. Lamar also treated APD’s former Chief Brooks badly instead of treating APD with the respect they earned and deserved or Chief Brooks would still be Antioch Police Chief and APD would still be fine and staffed with officers of quality who also left after Chief Brooks departed. Chief Brooks always properly vetted his officers when hiring and Antioch was really turning around but Lamar wouldn’t work with Brooks and was bent on defunding APD and taking away necessary tools APD needs to safely do their jobs. I hope Antioch voters get it together and elect a new Mayor and an entirely FRESH City Council. We need a change. Crime and public safety is out of control. Everybody on Antioch’s City Council has been there for too many years, except the one newer member who only cares about her radicalized self agenda and herself, rather than the community as a whole which is not appropriate, who has just brought more chaos and division without accomplishing anything good for the City as a whole,

Mayor and City Council have not brought any new businesses or jobs except a couple of fast food chains, where 16 year old loses her eye on the job because of crazies allowed to walk around town. They haven’t helped current longtime restaurants by taking steps to help preventing expensive break-ins, vandalism, and huge losses from smash and grab burglaries. Mayor and City Council has done nothing to reduce out-of-control crime but instead encourage it with their lack of attention and bias towards police and citizens by Council Members and Mayor. What have any of them accomplished for Antioch? I can’t think of anything except shootings, residents being harassed, carjackings, people creeping around neighborhoods all hours of the late night stealing catalytic converters, and the out of control crime causing the few remaining businesses finally throw in the towel and close. People don’t feel safe commuting, shopping or driving. Nothing being done to prevent out of control drugged out people and professional criminals from randomly attacking people.

Rip-off E-BART, its dangerous pedestrian crossings, bike unfriendly location is unsafe, unsecured station and parking lot instead of Antioch having getting the regular BART station and parking structure taxpayers paid for but Joel Keller was allowed to screw Antioch over with e-BART so BART could cut corners and get away with providing even worse, substandard service than they already do which is why the Amtrak train station should remain open as a stop and commute option and the station’s surrounding area improved.

Pittsburg seems to get much better candidates for Mayor and their City Council than Antioch does, why isn’t Antioch attracting the same quality candidates? Pittsburg has much more sense of community at their meetings too and their meetings are much more interesting than anything going on in Antioch which is always the same broken record of unsolved problems for the 10 years I have been here.

Antioch has great people but we’re always stuck with the same losers on the City Council and loser Mayors who can’t accomplish anything good or at all for Antioch. Kids should also have school resource officers returned to their schools too these days and better overall school security. Students should be able to study instead of watching their backs all day preventing their focus on learning the material and other skills needed to succeed.

Enough is Enough March 31, 2023 - 7:55 am

Soooo a press conference with no information. Yet another excuse for Lamar to drag his podium around, while shit talking the police force in his own city. Just another day in paradise…

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