Man in incident with Antioch mayor ID’d, questions arise about Thorpe facing charges for filing false police report

Antioch resident Tom McNell has been identified as the man falsely accused by Mayor Lamar Thorpe of punching him in the chest. Source: Facebook

Antioch resident Tom McNell declines additional comment; the offense of making a false police report of a crime to a peace officer is punishable by up to six months in jail; City’s PIO not at event or witness of incident

By Allen D. Payton

After a Bay Area TV station, on Thursday, identified Antioch resident Tom McNell as the man involved in the altercation with Mayor Lamar Thorpe on Tuesday, McNell said he would not offer any additional information about the incident, at this time. Thorpe has claimed that McNell punched him in the chest. However, during her comments at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting District 1 Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker – who claims to have helped broken things up between the two men – refuted the mayor’s claim saying Thorpe was only aggressively shoved. She also said McNell attempted to punch him, which he and other witnesses have refuted saying “no punches were thrown”. (See council meeting video and hear Torres-Walker’s comments at the 4:27:09 mark) (See related article)

McNell, who was one of 20 Antioch residents to sign as proponents on the Notice of Recall against Thorpe, claims he was poking fun at the mayor for missing part or all of two previous council meetings saying, “nice to see you coming out of hiding” and that it was Thorpe who approached McNell and got in his face.  McNell says he told Thorpe to get out of his personal space but didn’t. So, McNell put his right hand on the mayor’s chest and pushed the Thorpe back. McNell said, “if I shoved him, it wasn’t very hard.”

“I didn’t punch him,” McNell stated.

Photos of those in attendance at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, show Rolando Bonilla was not in attendance. Photos by Allen D. Payton

City’s PIO Not at Event or Witness to Incident, Confirms and Makes False Claims to Media

Antioch’s contracted PIO, Rolando Bonilla. Source:

The City’s contracted public information officer, Rolando Bonilla was asked, Thursday morning, if he was “the source close to the case” who told NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo the identity of the man who Thorpe has accused, as stated in the TV news report. Bonilla was also asked if so, is that part of his role as the city’s PIO to identify to the media Antioch residents who are merely accused by the mayor, a council member or a city staff member of doing something. He did not respond prior to publication time.

In addition, Bonilla is quoted as saying to KRON-4 News on Tuesday about an hour after the incident that an arrest “appears to be imminent”, yet the Antioch Police Department’s PIO Darryl Saffold shared later Tuesday afternoon that the investigation was still being conducted. Bonilla, acting as the City’s PIO confirmed to the media Thorpe’s claims of being pushed. But a review of photos from the event show Bonilla was not in attendance and therefore not in the parking lot during the time of the incident and couldn’t have been a witness to it.

Bonilla was asked how, while speaking on behalf of the city, he could confirm to the media what Thorpe said about being punched if he wasn’t a witness to the incident. He did not respond.

Up to Six Months in Jail for Filing False Police Report

Now that Thorpe’s claim of being punched by McNell has been refuted by Torres-Walker and other witnesses, Antioch residents are asking if the mayor could face charges of filing a false police report.

California Penal Code 148.5 PC makes it illegal to make a false police report of a crime to a peace officer. False reporting is a crime if the person making the report knows it to be false. The offense is punishable by up to six months in jail.

That Penal Code reads in Section “a) Every person who reports to any peace officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, the Attorney General, or a deputy attorney general, or a district attorney, or a deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

In addition, the penal code reads in Section “b) Every person who reports to any other peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.”

Questions for Interim Antioch Police Chief, APD PIO, Contra Costa DA PIO Go Unanswered

Some residents have asked if Thorpe could face charges for filing a false police report. Information and questions about the incident, Thorpe’s claim and Torres-Walker’s comments were sent to Interim Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford, department PIO Darryl Saffold, and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office PIO Ted Asregadoo, Thursday night asking about that possibility. But no responses were received as of close of business on Friday.

Please check back later for their responses and any other updates to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Chamber luncheon 102522

Rolando Bonilla Volersa com

Rolando Bonilla LinkedIn

Tom McNell FB

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