Antioch Council to hold Bridging The Gap community discussions on police oversight, race relations beginning Jan. 19

Graphic: City of Antioch

1/12/21 UPDATE: Participation limited to only 75 individuals who either live or work in Antioch and in only one of three “Dialogues”, public comments also limited since not regular council meetings

The Antioch community is invited to participate in a series of discussions entitled “Bridging the Gap” with the goal of increasing understanding of how to address racial injustice and improve police-community relations. They will be hosted by CNA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) with professional experience assisting public agencies in the realm of public safety services. Those who live or work in Antioch are invited to register for one virtual discussion session from the list below.

Dialogue 1: Police Oversight, Accountability, and Transparency

Date:  Tuesday, January 19th

Time: 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Discussion will focus on methods of police oversight, the police conduct complaint and discipline process, and practices that can increase police transparency.

Register here.

Dialogue 2: Racial Disparities in Policing

Date:  Saturday, February 6th

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 am

Discussion will focus on the disparate impact of police practices – such as recruitment and training, and use of force – on communities of color.

Register here.

Dialogue 3: Police-Community Engagement

Date:  Thursday, February 18th

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 am

Discussion will focus on how to improve the ways in which the police interact with young people and vulnerable communities, how police approach crime prevention, and how communities impact policing priorities.

Register here.

Questions About Meetings

The following questions were sent to Mayor Lamar Thorpe, City Manager Ron Bernal and City Attorney Thomas Smith, City Clerk Ellie Householder and Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore and the City’s Public Information Officer, Rolando Bonilla provided answers.If I understand that correctly, each Antioch resident gets to register for and participate in only one of the three different Bridge the Gap discussions/Dialogues that have different topics. Is that correct?

Q. If I understand that correctly, each Antioch resident gets to register for and participate in only one of the three different Bridge the Gap discussions/Dialogues that have different topics. Is that correct?

A. “Yes. On December 15th, at the City Council meeting, the format for the Bridging the Gap roundtable discussions was held by the Council.”

Q.  Does that mean each resident who wishes to participate only gets to offer a public comment during one of the forums, each of which have different topics? Or can each person who wants submit a public comment during each, but only receive the resource materials for one? Will everyone be able to watch all three?

A. “Thebulk of the meeting times is intendedfor small, facilitated breakout sessions in which intimate discussions about the select topic will occur,” he explained.

Q. Aren’t they going to be public meetings and therefore must allow any and all residents to participate and offer public comments before or after the meeting, as well as on the agendized topic?

A. “It is public in that members of the public can participate, and the larger group convening will be publicly broadcast, but not public in the same way as a City Council meeting. Due to that, those requirements do not apply.”

Q. Also, why are you holding the first one at 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday when some residents who still are working at jobs outside of the city will still be in the commute at that time?

A. “A pre-eventsurvey was conducted and advertised across several City platforms. Meeting days and times were selected based on the input of respondents.”

Q. Are you trying to limit public participation to fit within your timeframes for each?

A. “No.”

Q. You do recognize limiting each to just 90 minutes on such volatile, controversial topics is not enough time, right?

A. “Your opinion.”

However, Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker doesn’t isn’t waiting for the forums to occur. In a Friday post on her District 1 City Council Facebook page she wrote, “Show up for police reform in Antioch. Tuesday, January 12, 2021 7 PM

We need to address the lack of accountability and transparency of the Antioch Police Department that leads to bias policing, excessive use of force, and harassment in the City of Antioch.

We can’t forget about George Floyd, Tamir rice Freddie Gray, Brianna Taylor, Ahmad Albury, Eric Garner, Jacob blake [sic], Devin Carter, Sandra Bland and so many more.

Ask that the Antioch City Council take action now. Your voice matters

  1. Body-worn cameras on every officer.
  2. A dashcam in every police car.
  3. Independent investigations into civilian complaints regarding the use of force, harassment, and misconduct.
  4. The establishment of a civilian police oversight body.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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