Antioch mayor sends scathing letter to police union’s attorney for claiming he took away chief’s authority

Screenshot of KTVU Fox2 interview with the APOA’s attorney Mike Rains on Thursday, July 20, 2023 and Mayor Lamar Thorpe who responded Friday morning.

Rains says chief had “decision-making…taken away from him”; Thorpe calls it “completely laughable“, an “attempt to spin; claims police officers have committed “moral crimes” before investigation is completed

By Allen D. Payton

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe sent a scathing letter on Friday, July 21, 2023, to attorney Mike Rains, the who represents the Antioch Police Officers Association, attacking him for comments he made blaming the mayor for Police Chief Steve Ford’s sudden retirement. Ford announced his departure on Wednesday, effective August 11th. Rains made his comments in an interview with KTVU Fox2 interview  on Thursday. Thorpe posted a copy of his letter on his official Twitter feed and on his official Facebook page Friday morning.

During the news report Rains, of the law firm Rains Lucia Sterns St. Phalle and Silver, PC, told the reporter, “This department is in turmoil and he’s the one who could have brought it out of turmoil. It’s going to be hard to find somebody to do that, now.”

“These important decision-making things that any police chief should be making, having been taken away from him,” Rains stated. “I think he just got finally tired of not being able to make the decisions to guide both the investigation and the department the way he wanted to do.”

In that same report, Thorpe was also interviewed and said, “One individual or one role does not define the entire city. We have to deliver on the promises that we told people we would deliver on and part of that is building trust with the community and having a police department that serves all the people of our city.”

Thorpe’s Facebook post of letter to Rains on July 21, 2023.

In his Facebook post, Thorpe wrote, “This morning I had an encouraging conversation with Chief Steve Ford concerning his recent retirement announcement. While Chief Ford and I are in regular communication, I was traveling back from a transportation conference in Birmingham, Ala on Wednesday.

I thanked Chief Ford for his service and he reassured me that the reforms we’ve started have built a strong foundation for new leadership.

There will be local blogs and a paid lawyer for the officers involved in the racist text messaging scandal who try to politicize his retirement announcement.

Attached is my open-letter to said paid lawyer.”

Thorpe letter to Rains dated July 21, 2023. Source: Lamar Thorpe

Thorpe’s tweet of the letter reads, “Late [sic] from Mayor Thorpe to attorney for officers involved in racist text messaging scandal.”

Thorpe’s tweet on Twitter of his letter to Rains on July 21, 2023.

In his letter to Rains, Thorpe wrote, “Your attempt in the press to make Chief Steve Ford’s retirement about me is completely laughable, as it is clear you are seeking to make the Antioch Police Department’s current state of affairs about politics. It isn’t. It is about right and wrong.

As a paid representative to the racist [sic] that violated the public’s trust, I understand that your role is to protect them from the moral crimes that they committed against our residents. However, the moral crimes that your clients have committed are so egregious, and so outside of normalcy that it required a leader with internal fortitude to bring order to the Antioch Police Department.

To the city council, Chief Ford was that person. He came in with the belief that he would change the ‘hearts and minds’ of the members of the Antioch Police Department. However, racism is so entrenched within the halls of the Antioch Police Department that the Chief himself was freely labeled a ‘gorilla’ in text messages among officers (referring to the latest 128-pages of texts filed in court last week). Do you think this behavior is worth defending? A culture that is so toxic that they denigrate their leader in the most vile way by which a black man can be referenced.

For all of your attempt to spin in the press, keep in mind: I wasn’t the person that found the texts, nor was I the one that released the texts and the names of your clients. That honor goes to the FBI, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, and the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Are these agencies anti-police? Anti-law enforcement? Of course not, because they were doing the right thing and upholding their duty to the public.

In fact, the only people that seem to benefit from Antioch’s current moral crisis are people such as yourself who are paid handsomely to defend the indefensible. You hide behind policies and procedures without ever caring about how your actions hurt the residents of the city of Antioch, or the honest officers that have never violated the law whose names are being dragged in the mud because your clients lack the honor to take accountability. I’d say their lack of honor, and your protection of them is the most anti-police behavior I have ever witnessed.

That is one of the key differences between you and me. I do not get paid to serve as mayor. I serve because I love my community, and I will always fight to ensure that the residents of MY city are able to live in a city where they can prosper, and not feel marginalized by the very institutions their tax dollars uphold.

I am not writing this letter for a response from you as your words mean ABSOLUTELY nothing to me. I am writing it so that my community can hear the facts directly from me.


Lamar A. Thorpe

Mayor, City of Antioch


Rains’ Firm Represents Officers in Text Scandal Investigation, Not in Lawsuit

When reached for comment about Thorpe’s letter Rains said he is not representing the officers involved in the text scandal lawsuit.

In fact, the City through City Attorney Thomas L. Smith’s department, has hired and is paying for the attorneys representing and defending the current and two former police chiefs, and one former and five current officers named in the federal lawsuit.

But the attorneys in Rains’ office are with the officers during the interviews by the City-hired outside investigator for the text scandal investigation which is about possible violations of department policies and procedures.

Rains added, “Had the mayor left the chief alone he would have been able to do his job. I’m sorry to see him go. All of his discretionary powers were taken away.”

Thorpe Paid Stipend as Mayor

The mayor was incorrect in one of his comments toward the end as he and each councilmember receive a $1,600 per month stipend as well as benefits. Thorpe was challenged on that comment and asked if he would like to correct the record. He responded, “There’s no record to correct, I don’t get paid a salary, I get a stipend that is less than the annual salary of a minimum wage worker in California. Rains earns a salary, I do not.”

Thorpe was also asked to respond directly to Rains’ accusation that the mayor prevented Ford from doing his job. He was asked if anything Rains said is correct, and if at any time during Chief Ford’s tenure he attempted to exert any pressure on him or through the city manager regarding carrying out his duties for the department.

Thorpe responded, “My direct response to Rains is my letter, it speaks for itself.”

the attachments to this post:

LThorpe Ltr to MRains 072123 full

Thorpe tweet of ltr to MRains 072123

Thorpe FB post of ltr to MRains 072123

Mike Rains KTVU Fox2 interview, APOA logo & Lamar Thorpe

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