Antioch Council to hold special meeting Tuesday to discuss forming police reform ad hoc committee

Police Crime Prevention Commission Chairman questions need, accuses Thorpe of playing politics

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday night, June 16, 2020 to discuss and consider forming a Police Reform Ad Hoc Committee. It’s being done at the request of Councilman Lamar Thorpe who stated his desire to place the matter on a future council meeting agenda, at the end of this past Tuesday night’s regular council meeting. 

However, Police Crime Prevention Commission Chair Sandra White, in a comment on Thorpe’s personal Facebook page, questioned the need for it.

“Lamar as the Chairman of the Crime Commission in Antioch, why is Council interested in forming a new committee to discuss Police Reform?” she asked. “I was not aware our police department needed to be reformed? Or, is the council using the situation that happened to Mr. Floyd as a way to gain political support; as you all are trying to get re-elected?”

“Yes, I believe it is shameful to use a highly sensitive matter for political purposes,” White continued. “Please get off the wagon! Our police department has done an outstanding job over the years with limited resources. When you talk about police reform most people’s perceptions are police practices and/or policies are not working in the community. It will be a mistake to create that perception of the Antioch Police department.”

“Feel free to follow up with me directly to discuss further,” she concluded.

Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission Chair Sandra White’s comment on Councilman Lamar Thorpe’s Facebook post on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

However, her comment has been deleted. When reached for comment Thorpe wrote in a text about White and her comment, “She is not my friend on FB (Facebook). I delete all comments from people who are not my friends on FB. She’s more than welcome to comment on my public profile.”

Asked if his post was still on his personal page and why not use the Police Crime Prevention Commission instead of forming a council ad hoc committee, Thorpe did not respond.

Earlier this week, while speaking with the Herald about the eight reform recommendations he offered on Monday as part of the national 8 Can’t Wait campaign, and about what Antioch Police Chief T Brooks shared that the department was already implementing five of them and didn’t recommend implementing the other three, Thorpe said, “I want all eight.”

According to the staff report on the single item agenda, the council it is recommended they “Discuss and consider formation of a Police Reform Ad Hoc Committee including whether it shall review existing policies, rules, practices, customs, and general orders of the Antioch Police Department and make recommendations including but not limited to:

A. Prevention of excessive use of force by police officers against members of the public, including banning police from using carotid artery restraints and chokeholds;

B. Elimination of military equipment from the police department (“Demilitarization”);

C. Required use of conflict de-escalation approaches by all sworn officers when interacting with the public;

D. Increased police accountability, including the process for receipt and review of public complaints against the police for excessive use of force, racial and/or ethnic profiling, and other police misconduct;

E. Improvement of police officer candidate recruitment, screening, training and hiring practices including an analysis of policies concerning implicit bias, candidate diversity and candidate background checks; and

F. Police department budget appropriations.

2) Confirm the appointment of two (2) members for the Police Reform Ad Hoc Committee, if the ad hoc committee is desired;

3) Confirm the duration of the Police Reform Ad Hoc Committee, if the ad hoc committee is desired;

4) Adopt the resolution to form the Police Reform Ad Hoc Committee, if the ad hoc committee is desired; and

5) Determine whether to hold study sessions to discuss and consider the findings and recommendations of the Police Reform Ad Hoc Committee and, if so, when to schedule the study sessions.”

The council meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed on Comcast Cable Channel 24 or via livestream on the city’s website. Use the form on that same page to submit a comment either for general public comments on topics not on the agenda or on the one agenda item, to be read during the meeting. Comments are limited to 350 words.

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Sandra White’s comments to Lamar re police reform ad hoc committee

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