Acting City Manager, Antioch Police Chief shut down comments on department’s Facebook page

Comment below a post on the Antioch Police Department’s Facebook page on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 announcing comments have been disabled.

“We want citizens to use the forums and city council meetings during public comment” – Acting City Manager Forrest Ebbs. Says Circuit Court decision doesn’t apply

By Allen D. Payton

In response to comments from people outside the community following the recent racist text scandal involving several officers, the Antioch Police Department has shut off the ability for the public to post comments on their Facebook page as of today, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. In a comment below a post of a video of Corporal Price Kendall “showing off his dance moves at the Multi-Cultural Event hosted at Park Middle School”, the APD wrote, “Notice: The Antioch Police Department has been directed to disable public comments on Facebook social media posts. If you would like to provide your feedback, please contact us at (925) 779-6801 or email us at”

Asked who gave the direction, APD PIO Ashley Crandell responded, “The City.” Pressed further asking if it was Acting City Manager Forrest Ebbs or City Attorney Thomas L. Smith, she did not respond.

When asked about it Ebbs responded, “Directed by me in collaboration with the Chief” Steve Ford.

Asked why and if it’s legal due to the 9th Circuit Court decision which held that official use of a social media platform created a public forum, and blocking members of the public violated the First Amendment (recognizing that case and a separate 6th Circuit Court case with the opposite decision being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court) Ebbs said, “The court case doesn’t apply. That was for being selective and it must be all or nothing. The reason for the decision is we’re really trying to encourage people to use the community forums to discuss policing. We want to have a civil conversation there. Facebook doesn’t give that ability. Some of the comments were disturbing and weren’t regarding the posts. We weren’t able to comment back and address things. So, we made the decision to not use Facebook as the community forum.”

There had been no posts on the page since April 25, including nothing about the eight shootings since last Thursday including the shooting death on Monday night. Information about that incident was shared via press release. (See related article)

However, Crandell said she would work with the department’s crime analyst to provide details on the other shootings.

Comments on APD Facebook page below a post on April 24, 2023 were by three men not from Antioch.

Comments below a post on the APD Facebook page on April 24 included videos critical of Antioch Police Officer Tom Lenderman, shared by a man who lives in Santa Clarita, California and another by a man who lives in Huntsville, Alabama and another video shared by a third man who lives in Ovid, Michigan according to their own Facebook page profiles.

“We want citizens to use the forums and city council meetings during public comment. That Facebook page wasn’t set up as the forum for such an important issue as this one,” Ebbs added. “The forums are tailored to the local folks, here, in the community and Facebook allows anyone to comment.”

Note: Corporal Kendall’s impressive dance moves are worth the watch, here.

A screenshot of a video chat

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the attachments to this post:

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