Following police incident at Antioch councilwoman’s home fellow council members, commissioner call for her resignation as chair of police oversight committee, from council

Second incident between Torres-Walker and police in less than a year

“This is an embarrassment to the city, again. Enough is enough.” – Councilman Barbanica

By Allen Payton

According to reports, police were dispatched to District 1 Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker’s home shortly after midnight Friday night, following calls to APD of noise complaints including dirt bikes riding in the street, loud music and gunshots. When officers arrived multiple shell casings were found in front of her home, she emerged from the house, appeared intoxicated, confronted and berated the officers, and interfered in their investigation, including taking the papers of a woman to whom they were speaking to at the scene, from one of the officer’s hand.

In response, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson are calling for her resignation as chair of the Antioch Police Oversight Standing Committee, while District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica and Antioch Economic Development Commission Chair Tim McCall are calling for Torres-Walker to resign from the council. District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock is taking it further than Thorpe and Wilson, but not as far as Barbanica and McCall, by calling for Torres-Walker’s complete removal from all council appointed committees. She has also asked that the police body cam video “footage be released as soon as possible.”

Thorpe issued the following statement, posted on his official Facebook page, Monday afternoon:

“I have been briefed about a recent incident over the weekend involving the Antioch Police Department and Councilmember Torres-Walker. As the mayor of the city of Antioch, I am requesting that Councilmember Torres-Walker immediately step down from her role as the chair of the Antioch Police Oversight Committee.

As elected officials, we do not have to always agree on issues, but we must always agree on the fact that we must set an example for the rest of the city and treat our public employees with respect and dignity for their contributions to our community.”

In a post on her official Facebook page, Monday night, Wilson simply wrote, “Given recent events, it is in the best interest of our city that Councilwoman Torres-Walker step aside in her role as Chair of the Police Oversight Committee.”

Barbanica posted on his official Facebook page more extensive remarks on Monday night.

“This afternoon, I started receiving calls about this weekend’s incident with Council Member Torres-Walker. At 12:46 I began to reach out to Council Member Torres-Walker and asked her to meet in person. This was so I could ask her to immediately resign from the Antioch City Council. I did want her to hear it directly from me. She told me that she could meet me Wednesday, but I requested that it happen today, even if by phone. She told me that she would call and I didn’t hear from her, later stating that we could possibly meet after 5 PM. At 4:38 PM Council Member Torres-Walker did not respond to my request to again meet in person.

I requested to meet with Chief Morefield. He confirmed that there was an active investigation, but details were limited because the PD is investigating this as a shooting. I did confirm that multiple body cameras were active as officers were on scene.

I spoke with the press at 4:53 PM and told them that I am calling for her immediate resignation from the City Council. I also am calling for the APD to release the body cam footage as soon as possible. Total transparency was the reason many of us supported these cameras. We do not need the city dragged through another year of this.”

When reached later for additional comment, the councilman said, “this is an embarrassment to the city, again. Enough is enough. We’re coming up on a year of her previous incident.” Barbanica was referring to the incident, last December, between Antioch police officers, Torres-Walker and her two sons who were illegally riding off road vehicles on city streets. (See related articles herehere, here, here and here)

“This is not conduct becoming of a city council member. It is my belief she should not put the city through this, again. She should do the right thing and resign her position,” he reiterated.

McCall wrote Monday evening, “As chairman of the Antioch Economic Development Commission, I am calling for the resignation of City Council Member Torres-Walker.  Her multiple displays of poor judgement in the City of Antioch is negatively affecting the City’s ability to attract and retain businesses which supply jobs and goods to our residents and community. In addition, I am calling on Mayor Thorpe to remove Torres-Walker from the police oversight committee.”

10/05/21 UPDATE: When reached for comment Tuesday morning, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock shared a statement she issued on Monday calling for Torres-Walker to step down completely from the Police Oversight Standing Committee, as well as all council-appointed committees.

“Due to recent events over the weekend at Councilmember Torres-Walker’s home, I believe it is in the best interest of the city that she immediately, step down from the Police Oversight Standing Committee and all council-appointed committees she has been appointed to. I would also ask that she be censured at this time until the on-going investigation is completed.

We as council have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and not degrade or be verbally abusive to our police officers. No city employee should be treated in such a manner.

This incident should not overshadow the good work by our Antioch Police Department, nor the progress being made throughout the City of Antioch.”

In addition, in a post on her official Facebook page on Tuesday, Ogorchock wrote, “For those of you who are asking the City Council to remove Councilmember Torres-Walker as a Councilmember, we cannot do that. She is an elected official, District 1 voted her into office, we do not have the power to remove her. We as council can have her released from the committees/commissions she’s part of and this should be on council’s upcoming agenda.

We all want to see the video footage from the body cams, but this is part of the APD’s investigation. I have asked that that footage be released as soon as possible.”

Efforts to reach Torres-Walker for comment, via text and email Monday evening, were unsuccessful prior to publication time, and no comment has been posted on either her official or personal Facebook pages about the incident.

A call was made to the APD Media line for more information Monday afternoon, and an email was sent to both Acting Chief Morefield and City Attorney Smith requesting more details, as well as a public records act request for copies of the police body and dash cam footage of the incident, after work hours.

In a Wednesday email, Captain Trevor Schnitzius responded, “This is an open and ongoing criminal investigation.  We do not have additional information to release at this time.  With respect to your PRA, that is being evaluated for any items that may be available for release pursuant PRA.  You should receive correspondence regarding your PRA request in accordance with established timelines as outlined in PRA legislation.”

10/12/21 UPDATE: In an email received on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, Police Records Supervisor Lynn Dansie wrote, “The Antioch Police Department is in receipt of your recent Public Records Act request for body camera footage and dash camera footage of a recent incident that resulted in case #21-8418, involving a local Councilwoman.  Because this is an active investigation and still considered to be an open case, the records that may be responsive to your request are being denied for release under GC 6254(f), GC 6254(k) and GC 6255(a), at this time.”

Incident Details

In addition, Dansie wrote, “A press release is not planned to be released.  As described in GC 6254(f)(2), the following details regarding the call, are available.  Officers responded to the 500 block of Gary Ave on October 3, 2021 at 0027 hours, for a report of a loud party and shots heard, in the area.  There were no victims, no injuries, and no property loss determined at the time of officers’ arrival.  As mentioned, this is an open and continuing investigation at this time.”

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