Archive for the ‘Police & Crime’ Category

Antioch SWAT arrest two for illegal gun manufacturing early Thursday morning

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Illegal gun parts seized by Antioch Police on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Photo: APD

By Acting Sergeant Loren Bledsoe, Antioch Police Department

Today, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 at approximately 6:30 AM, members of the Antioch Police SWAT team assisted the APD Gang Unit in executing a search warrant at a residence located in the 1600 Block of Cavallo Road in Antioch.

The search was part of an ongoing firearms manufacturing investigation that was initiated by the APD Gang Unit. As result of the search, detectives located several high-powered rifle parts and frames, high-capacity magazines as well as evidence of illegal firearms manufacturing and sales. This led to the arrest of two individuals at the scene, 18-year-old and 46-year-old Antioch residents, who will not be named at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

This preliminary information is made available by the Investigations Bureau. There will be no further information released regarding this case at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Quamaine Murphy at (925) 779-6937 or the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch father shoots son multiple times during Wednesday night dispute

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Arrested for attempted murder

By Sergeant James Stenger #3604, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations Bureau)

On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, at about 7:53 pm, Antioch Police patrol officers were dispatched to 3500 block of Briarwood Court for a disturbance between a father and son. During the incident the father produced a firearm and shot his son multiple times. The son was transported to a local hospital where he is currently listed in critical but stable condition. The father was arrested and booked into the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez for attempted murder with bail set at $750,000. This case will be presented to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Additional inquiries or information can be directed to Antioch Police Detective Gerber at (925) 779-6943 or by emailing RGerber@antiochca.gov. Anonymous tips or information about this – or any other incident – can be sent via text to 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword ANTIOCH.

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Feds charge Antioch nurse with possession of child pornography

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

In addition to charges filed by Contra Costa DA

Shawn Jamison Prichard. Photo: CCDA

OAKLAND –Shawn Jamison Prichard was charged in a criminal complaint with possession of child pornography announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.

That’s in addition to the charges filed against him by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on December 10th. (See related article) (See related article)

According to the complaint filed December 22, 2020, and unsealed this morning, Prichard, 41, of Antioch, allegedly possessed at least one image of child pornography involving the use of a prepubescent minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Prichard is a licensed nurse in California.  The criminal investigation in this case began with a tip from a social media company based on defendant’s use of a messaging service to send images of child pornography. Prichard is charged with possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252.

Prichard made his initial federal court appearance in federal court this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen.  His next appearance is a detention hearing scheduled for December 29, 2020, at 10:30 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler.

A criminal complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years (20 years if the images depict pre-pubescent children), and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, if appropriate.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan U. Lee is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Rodriguez Gonzalez and Kathleen Turner.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and HSI.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Police to investigate Tuesday dirt bike riding incident with new councilwoman’s sons following profanity-laced Facebook rant

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

“I will be hiring an outside, independent investigator to conduct the investigation.” – Antioch Police Chief T Brooks

Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker in a Facebook Live video she posted on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Screenshot of video now on YouTube.

By Allen Payton

On Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020 two boys were stopped by Antioch Police for riding a quad and dirt bike on city streets. The quad was seen by this reporter pulled over in the 1900 block of A Street, facing south in the right, northbound lane. Their mother is new Councilmember Tamisha Torres-Walker who represents District 1.

She posted a nine-minute, tearful, profanity-laced Live video on one of her Facebook pages, later that day, calling the Antioch Police “motherf—-rs” and “a—holes”, and complaining they chased down her sons, side swiped them, bumped the quad and pulled out their tazers, but didn’t use them. Tores-Walker said she told the police officers “you don’t know who I am” but claims she said that because she doesn’t care that she’s a council member.

“I don’t care. I don’t care. Like, when I say ‘you don’t know who I am’ you better believe that I’m saying I don’t give a f—- about being a city council member. That’s what I’m saying,” she said in the video. “So, when I say ‘you don’t know who I am’ I’m not trying to say ‘I’m a city council member.’ What I’m trying to say is I don’t give a f— about being a city council member. That’s what I’m trying to say, that you don’t know me about my kids.”

“I fixing to get off of this Live, right now,” Torres-Walker continued with a chuckle. “I’m so mad, right now. I’m not scared enough to back down from this sh–. My son is all f—ed up, right now, because he didn’t know what y’all was going to do and this is a child. So, yes, I will be filing a complaint.”

“This sh– is just out of line,” she concluded.

The video has since been removed from her Facebook page. But EastCountyToday.net was able to capture and post it on YouTube. The video can be viewed, here. (Warning: video contains graphic language)

In the video, Torres-Walker mentions her two sons who were “out here having fun” including one who is 13 years old. The age of her other son was not shared. Efforts to reach her for more details and to answer questions were unsuccessful prior to publication time, including if they live on or near A Street and if she’s aware it’s illegal to ride dirt bikes and quads on city streets.

Chief Brooks Responds

In response to questions about the incident and what the Antioch Police Department had to say about it and will do, Chief T Brooks offered the following, official response: “I am aware of the video and the incident in question. I take these allegations very seriously and have initiated an investigation into the matter. In order to ensure a fair, impartial, and objective process is completed, I will be hiring an outside, independent investigator to conduct the investigation.”

In addition, an APD sergeant said he expected a press release about the incident to be issued, soon.

Councilmembers Asked About Possible Censure

Finally, immediately prior to publication, Mayor Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and Council Members Lori Ogorchock and Mike Barbanica were asked if any of them will consider censuring Walker for her comments, as Antioch residents have been asking on social media. That’s especially in light of Wilson’s successful effort to not merely censure former Planning Commission Chair Kenny Turnage, but her, Thorpe’s and Ogorchock’s votes to remove him for his controversial comments about COVID-19 on Facebook, earlier this year.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Pittsburg man pleads guilty to multiple felonies in Antioch and Pittsburg including July 2020 carjacking, attempted murder

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the District Attorney, Contra Costa County

On December 18, 2020, Gilberto Villegas of Pittsburg (42-years-old) pleaded no contest Attempted Murder and Carjacking related to his violent attacks on multiple victims over a two-day period in Antioch and Pittsburg during late July of 2020. Villegas also admitted to causing great bodily injury and to having a prior violent felony/ strike offense. In total, Villegas will serve 18 years in state prison for his crimes.

On the evening of July 25, 2020, Villegas approached Jane Doe 1 in a parking lot at her place of work. He pulled up his car next to the victim’s, waited until she exited the vehicle and demanded her car keys. She had attempted to leave her car and escape, Villegas brought her back to her car using physical force. The victim then threw her car keys away in an effort to end the attempted carjacking. Villegas responded by using his own car keys to stab the victim in the neck multiple times. Fortunately, a witness came upon the attack and yelled at the defendant. He then broke off his attack and fled in his own vehicle.

The next day, Villegas approached another female victim, Jane Doe 2, in a parking lot where the victim worked. The Victim was in her car during her lunch break. He proceeded to open her car door while she was inside her vehicle and strangled her to the point where she lost consciousness. After he pushed her out the vehicle, Villegas then started the victim’s car and tried to run her over. Co-workers intervened and Villegas fled the parking lot in Jane Doe 2’s car.

As part of the criminal complaint filing against Villegas, he had a prior violent felony for a 2015 conviction for a robbery with the use of a weapon.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Chris Sansoe of the Victims of Violent Crimes Unit. The cases involving Villegas were investigated by the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments.

Case information: People v. Gilberto Villegas Docket Number 04-200031-3 and 04-200067-7.

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Antioch Police deliver Christmas joy to over 200 families during annual gift giveaway

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Photos: APD

By Antioch Police Department

A HOLLY JOLLY DAY!

While we didn’t have Rudolph to cut through this morning’s fog, there was plenty of blue to light the way during the Antioch Police Department’s annual holiday giveaway.

More than 200 Antioch families were treated to new toys, groceries and fresh produce.

Some 30 police officers, APD Cadets and other volunteers jumped into action to organize, greet guests and hand out the goods.

Grateful families drove through the parking lot to receive a variety of food and toys ranging from dolls and puzzles to art kits and stuffed animals.

A lucky dozen won the drawing for children’s bicycles thanks to a donation from Bridge Marina Yacht Club.

And, speaking of donations, there was an abundance of toys thanks to Antioch Fellowship Church, Antioch High, Antioch Middle and Park Middle schools, Antioch Woman’s Club, Dr. Ali Shirani (DDS), Golden Hills Community Church, Holy Rosary Church, Sail Bible Study group, Trokiando Truck Club, VFW Antioch, Antioch PAL, Antioch Rotary, White Pony Express and countless wonderful community members and businesses.

Antioch Police Department 2020 annual Christmas giveaway volunteers. Photo: APD

Chief Tammany Brooks was hand to greet all visitors and said this is his favorite event.

“I look forward to this every year,” he said. “It brings joy to my heart to see the members of my APD family come together and help those in need. I’m honored to be part of this department and this community.”

The APD has been working for weeks to organize the drive-through event and implement safety procedures.

“Everything went really well,” said Lt. Tarra Mendes, who helped coordinate the day.

Thanks again to all who made this a joyful and giving day for our city and help make the season brighter for many families.

(Please note: All were wearing masks except for the brief time for some photo opps.)

See more photos on the APD Facebook page.

 

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Antioch Council votes to rescind DOJ grant for six School Resource Officers on split vote

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Over 220 public comments, mostly in favor of rescinding the grant, of which about 80 were the same repeated message

By Anthony Dorado

During their Tuesday, Dec. 15 meeting, the Antioch City Council voted on a split, 3-2 vote to rescind the previous 3-2 vote to approve acceptance of a U.S. DOJ COPS Hiring Program Grant of $750,000 for six School Resource Officers (SRO’s). The council also approved of a series of virtual roundtable discussions on a broad range of topics pertaining to policing and racial disparities within policing. CORRECTION: In addition, the council discussed a $50 million budget increase for the Brackish Water Desalination Plant increasing it to $110 million, and the first construction contract of $87 million. But that was postponed until next Tuesday night.

Rescind Grant for SRO’s

The most controversial item on the agenda was the reconsideration of the U.S. DOJ COPS Hiring Program Grant that would have provided for six new School Resource Officers in the City of Antioch. This appeared to be the only matter that the Council held split views on. While Council Members Barbanica and Ogorchock saw this as an important step towards building trust between the youth and the police, Mayor Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, and Council Member Tamisha Torres-Walker did not believe this would adequately address the problem of youth violence and educational failure.

Council Member Mike Barbanica stressed his own personal relationship with an SRO growing up, detailing how they would, “play football together,” and how it was overall a, “positive experience.” He also detailed his time interviewing particular administrators and teachers in the area and expressed how he had not spoken with a single one of them that was against receiving this grant. Thorpe however recounted his own time as a schoolteacher and stressed the importance of, “not treating our young people with contempt,” and joining Wilson and Torres-Walker in the opinion that the community and schools should focus on greater mental health support and not policing.

In addition, the cost for the six SROs would not be completely covered by the grant. It would provide a total of $750,000 over the course of three years, at $250,000 each year. The city council and the Antioch School Board agreed that they would split the cost 50/50, but the net cost to the city by would be in excess of $2,000,000 for the fourth year as part of the agreement with the DOJ. The council members who opposed the grant did not believe it was money worth spending on the six additional police officers for the department.

While the Council may have been split, the community members voicing their opinions were not so divided. This particular item received 227 public comments, the vast majority were in opposition to the addition of SROs on the Antioch campuses, and about 80 of the comments were the same message verbatim. In the end, the community opinion alongside the opinion of the new council majority prevailed, and the resolution to rescind the grant was passed on a 3-2 vote, with Thorpe, Wilson and Torres-Walker voting in favor, and Ogorchock and Barbanica voting against.

Desalination Plant Budget Increase & Contract Approval Postponed

The second item on the agenda was the aforementioned approval of a budget increase on the Brackish Water Desalination Plant. While the City Council appeared ready to cast their votes on the matter, John Samuelson, the City Engineer for the City of Antioch, requested that the Council vote to postpone the matter to a later date and meeting on account of a further consideration of the bid protest against Shimmick Construction Company Inc. brought forward by Overaa Co.  The Council unanimously voted to postpone the vote to a later date to be determined.

Bridging the Gap Roundtable Discussions

The third item on the agenda was a serious of roundtable discussions, entitled Bridging the Gap, that are planned for 2021. These virtually held roundtable discussions, begun earlier this year, are intended to give Antioch residents the opportunity to voice their opinions on their own experiences and understanding of racial relationships and conflict within the realm of policing. The goal is to raise awareness of racial disparities within policing, to foster community engagement and unity, and to shine a light on the steps needed to move forward towards racial equity. 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.

The council all voted in the affirmative, but not without particular hesitations. Barbanica was the first to voice his hesitation that this would turn out to be an, “academic exercise that led nowhere,” and Wilson also joined him in her concern that this would simply be a, “dog and pony show that led to no results.” While Ogorchock, Torres-Walker and Thorpe agreed, they decided they would nevertheless give the process a chance, as well. The dates for the roundtable discussions have yet to be specified, but are expected to be held sometime in early 2021. The council voted in favor of the series of online community meetings on a 5-0 vote.

Increase Council Chamber Remodel Budget to $1.9 Million

In other action, the council authorized a third amendment increasing the contract with Saboo Inc. for the City Hall Council Chambers Remodel by $147,983.84 totaling the contract to $1,862,008.15. This contract would utilize Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) funds. Accepting work and authorizing a Notice of Completion. This agenda passed with unanimous consent, concluding in a 5-0 vote in the affirmative.

Council Committee Appointments

The fifth and final item on the agenda was the appointment to City Council and Ad Hoc Committees. Thorpe appointed Barbanica and himself to the transitional housing committee stating that he would begin meeting mid-2021 once they had worked through some housing proposals for the homeless. Wilson will remain on the Cannabis Committee. Torres-Walker also expressed interest in participating on the Cannabis Committee. The City – School Board Committee appointments were left to be dealt with after the school board elects their new leadership, which is expected at their meeting, tonight. All appointments were approved on a 5-0 vote by the council.

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Antioch Council to consider cancelling grant for six School Resource Officers Tuesday, Brown Act violations alleged

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

All six positions are ready to be filled, today; Questions to both elected officials and city staff ignored

Desalination plant budget increase by $50 million and contract on agenda

Discussion on roundtable meetings on racial injustice and police-community relations also on agenda

By Allen Payton

During the first and special meeting of the new Antioch City Council, tonight, Tuesday, December 15, at 6:00 p.m., they will consider rescinding the vote by the previous council of accepting a federal grant to help fund six police officers on Antioch middle and high school campuses. The three-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Hiring Program, along with matching funds from the Antioch School District, approved by the school board, earlier this year, would pay for the officer. (See related article, here)

The issue was a matter of controversy when the school board considered voting on the matching funds, with the first meeting being interrupted by a protest, including protesters pounding on the windows and door, and even breaking into the school district offices during the meeting. That meeting was abruptly ended and continued a few days later during which the SRO’s were approved on a 3-2 vote. (See related articles, here, here and here)

In an email sent Sunday night to Mayor Lamar Thorpe he was asked, “while you voted against accepting the grant, during the campaign you repeatedly stated you are not for defunding police. Yet, if you now vote to rescind the approved $750,000 grant to help pay for six police officers on Antioch middle and high school campuses, aren’t you in effect voting to defund police?” He did not respond prior to publication time.

In addition, during a campaign interview Walker said, “Right now, everyone deserves quality policing services. If we are always in opposition…it’s because we’re not talking to each other” referring to the police and community. She was asked since the intent of the SRO’s is to create community policing on the campuses, and develop communication and relationships between Antioch police officers and students, why would she not want the SRO’s on the campuses? Walker did not respond.

Questions About Who Can Place the Item On Agenda and Others Go Unanswered

Additional questions were emailed Sunday night to City Attorney Thomas Smith, City Clerk Ellie Householder and City Manager Ron Bernal including how does it work within both state law and Robert’s Rules of Order for a council member to bring back something for reconsideration that was already passed/approved/adopted by the council?

If a motion fails, it takes one of those who voted for the motion to bring back the item for reconsideration. They were all asked does the same apply to an item that was approved? Who requested the item to be placed on Tuesday’s agenda? Was it Mayor Thorpe and/or another council member? Finally, what is the deadline for the city to rescind the funds?

Instead of answering the questions, on Monday morning, Householder referred them to the city’s Public Information Officer (PIO) Rolando Bonilla writing, “I’m CC’ing the City’s PIO, Rolando, to this email. He can address your questions.”

The same questions were sent again to the same four plus Thorpe, Monday night. But still no response.

Bonilla has not responded to the questions either in the 24 hours since he received them.

However, it was learned Tuesday morning from an official who chose to remain anonymous, that it was Thorpe who requested the item be placed on the agenda.

The question remains, if it requires someone who voted for the motion to bring it back for reconsideration, that could only be Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, because she’s the only remaining council member who voted for the grant, along with former Mayor Sean Wright and former Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts, both of whom lost their bids for re-election.

Possible Open Meeting Law Violations

In  addition, it has been alleged that the state’s Brown Act open meeting law has been violated by both Mayor Lamar Thorpe and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Walker, for having serial meetings, which means speaking with more than one other council member about an agenda item before it’s discussed in public. It’s alleged that Thorpe spoke to both Walker and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica. Walker is accused of also speaking to District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, after she spoke with Thorpe.

Although Thorpe, along with Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson voted against the council’s approval of the grant also on a 3-2 vote, he claimed repeatedly during his recent campaign that he was not for defunding police. Asked if a vote to rescind was, in effect, defunding police he responded,

Asked if he had spoken to both Walker and Barbanica about the SRO’s before tonight’s meeting, Thorpe did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him for this report.

When asked if she spoke with both Thorpe and Ogorchock about the agenda items Walker responded, “I took the oath of office December 7th and have not talked to anyone concerning this or any matter before the council.”

However, the Brown Act applies to candidates who were elected beginning on Election Night. So, a follow up question was asked if Walker had spoken to any other council member about the SRO’s since Election Night. She did not respond as of publication time.

An attempt to reach Ogorchock, asking if she had spoken to Walker about rescinding the grant for the SRO’s, but she too did not respond as of publication time. Attempt to reach Barbanica, asking if he had spoken to Thorpe about rescinding the grant for the SRO’s, were unsuccessful before publication time.

Hiring Process Has Already Started, All Six Positions Could Be Filled, Today

The hiring process for the six SRO’s has begun, according to Antioch Police Chief T Brooks. He was also asked if any of the grant money had been spent, yet, and if there is a deadline for rescinding the grant.

“We’ve already selected all six SRO’s, because they were all police officers with us, already,” he stated. “So, basically the grant is to hire additional positions. I am authorized 115 officers. With the grant, that would raise my sworn authorized to 121 because I would have had to create new positions for it. I would be able to pay for the new officers by using the grant money to offset the costs. The remaining portion is being split 50/50 with the school district.”

“They were interviewed and the interview process involved members of the police department, staff of the AUSD, teachers union and students,” Brooks explained. “They were all selected and chosen for which school they were going to work at. We were just waiting for the schools to open.”

“None of the grant money has been spent, yet,” he continued. Regarding the deadline he said he didn’t know.

“The grants actually became effective July 1, 2020. But we haven’t started drawing on them,” Brooks shared. “So, we would be able to extend it on the back end. The COPS office, due to the pandemic would allow us to apply for extensions for use of the funding.”

The department was authorized by the city council to overhire by five additional officers, earlier this year, for a total of 120 sworn officers who are currently on the force. Plus, there is one prospective officer currently in the academy. So, all six positions could be filled, today.

Desalination Plant Budget Increase & Construction Contract

In addition, the council will consider increasing the budget for the brackish water desalination plant by $50 million to a total of $110 million and approve the construction contract of $86,689,000.

Roundtable Meetings on Racial Injustice & Police-Community Relations

Plus, the council will be asked to provide direction to city staff on getting back on track the planned Bridging the Gap community roundtable discussions on racial injustice and police-community relations. The city has hired a consulting firm to help facilitate the virtual meetings. According to the staff report on the item, three roundtable discussions are proposed to begin early next year with the topics of 1) Police Oversight, Accountability and Transparency; 2) Racial Disparities in Policing; and 3) Police-Community Engagement.

Making a Public Comment

The item is number 4 on the council’s agenda. For those wanting to submit a public comment to be read during the meeting, click here or email cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us prior to the Mayor announcing that public comment is closed, and the comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email (i.e. “Public Comments” or a specific Agenda Item number).

For those who want to call in and speak live during the public comment period on the item, click here. You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting. – When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. The meeting can be viewed via livestream on the city’s website, or on Comcast/Xfinity local cable Channel 24 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Please check back later to any updates to this report.

 

 

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