Under pressure from fellow Antioch councilmembers, Torres-Walker resigns as chair of police committee

Announces on Facebook, claims “negative and retaliatory behaviors from APD.” No details from police, yet. Expected soon.

Torres-Walker’s post on her official Facebook page on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

By Allen Payton

Under pressure from her fellow council members who voted to appoint her as chair of their Police Oversight Standing Committee, Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker announced her resignation from the position. It was in response to the police incident at her home Friday night/early Saturday morning following noise complaints from neighbors that included loud music, dirt bikes in the street and gunshots. (See related article)

In a post on her official Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, the councilwoman agreed to step down, but not resign from the committee completely, as District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock is calling for, nor from the council as District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica and Economic Development Commission Chair Tim McCall are calling for.

Torres-Walker wrote: “After much thought and reflection, I have decided to step down as Chair of the Antioch Police Oversight Committee. I feel this decision is best so that I can continue to provide leadership in spaces where I’m most impactful, advocating for reform while continuing to be a voice for the most vulnerable of our society. In addition, this is necessary for the well-being and safety of my family.

Unfortunately, my work on the committee has become adversarial with the APD, resulting in negative and retaliatory behaviors from APD. My response to these behaviors has been one of self-protection in my personal life, which I understand may be viewed as uncivil. These interactions stem from deeper unspoken issues and erode the public’s trust, such as the most recent actions by former police chief Tammany Brooks. Mr. Brooks received an impartial independent investigation report, and he took the liberty to modify that report. It’s this type of abuse of authority that must be called out which and fans the flames of tension in our community. The work of the Oversight Committee is far too important to the future of Antioch, those who seek justice, and true community policing. I do not, in any way, want my presence as chair to create the perception that the work of the committee is not being led in an objective manner.

Throughout my life, I have dedicated myself to serving the community and ensuring that marginalized communities are not exploited by systems that have been built precisely with that in mind. As a first-time elected official, I recognize that I have made errors in my delivery and that my transition to the decorum and structure of the seat I hold has not been conventional. I know I have made mistakes.

I pledge to continue growing and learning and to never lose the passion I have for my community.

Thank you, Antioch.”

Police and City Response

To date, the Antioch Police Department has not issued a statement or press release about the incident. Questions were sent to Acting Chief Tony Morefield and City Attorney Thomas L. Smith, including when will a press release be issued about this very serious incident? Also, how soon can the police body and dash cam videos be released? I know it’s new technology for our city, but how quickly can that happen?

In addition, a Public Records Act request for the body and dash cam videos of the incident was made on Monday.

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.”

The city has 10 days to release the videos and up to an additional 14 days, if deemed necessary. Ogorchock has asked that the “footage be released as soon as possible”.

In addition, City Manager Ron Bernal responded that he would discuss the matter with the city’s public information officer, Rolando Bonilla, by their 4:00 p.m. meeting, Wednesday afternoon.

Torres-Walker Offers Additional Comment

In a Thursday morning email Torres-Walker offered an additional comment about her resignation, writing, “I had decided to step down as chair long before my colleagues made the request given what I know regarding Chief Brooks interference in the first investigation.”

the attachments to this post:

Torres-Walker FB post 10-05-21

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