Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Fire fighters protest COVID-19 vaccine mandate at Contra Costa Supervisors meeting

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Goes into effect tomorrow, Sept. 17; Board supports LAFCO consolidation of fire departments

By Daniel Borsuk

With the clock ticking, a battalion of upset Contra Costa County Fire District fire fighters remotely protested before the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors that they refuse to obey a “draconian” August 13 Contra Costa Health Services order requiring county first responders to be fully vaccinated or face termination.

The county health order that goes into effect Friday, Sept. 17 was drafted by Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano and adopted by the board of supervisors in a closed session because of its employment ramifications for many veteran fire fighters and sheriff deputies and other first responders who might refuse to take the vaccine for personal, political or religious reasons.

Dr. Farnitano claims the tough vaccine employment order for first responders arises at a time the number of COVID-19 patients in county hospitals is on the rise.

But a check with the Contra Costa Health Department’s COVID-19 website shows there are 154 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals. That is down 9.3 percent over the past two weeks, the CCCHD website showed.

In addition, the county health department reported 2,421 active COVID-19 cases. That is down 45.9 percent from two weeks ago.

Nearly 85 percent of Contra Costa residents are vaccinated, county health department data shows. The national vaccination rate is 73.9 percent.

The new vaccine employment edict applies to fire department and sheriff office personnel. There were no personnel from the sheriff’s office who protested against Dr. Farnitano’s vaccination/employment order.

Nearly 40 firefighters, many with more than 20 years in service, from all ranks including engineers, firefighters, and captains, protested against the county health officer’s order.

“This is an infringement of our freedom of choice,” said Collin Spencer, a fire fighter/paramedic.

Upon opposing the vaccine mandate, fire fighter Nick Sandburg, a father of two with a “pregnant wife” commented, “I don’t think the vaccine is effective. I oppose the vaccine mandate. Just give us universal testing.”

“None of us took this lightly,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. “This is about protecting the public.”

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen was more direct commenting “I am really shocked about the misinformation that our fire fighters have about the COVID-19 vaccine. Somewhere there is a big disconnect.”

It’ll be interesting what the fire fighters will do when the Sept. 17 deadline arrives. The county could be in a major fire crisis if large numbers of well trained, experienced fire fighters are let go especially during the start of the county’s peak fire season.

In the past month, there were 206 vegetation fires that CCCFD responded to and in one day there were seven structure fires, reported Contra Costa County Fire Department Chief Louis Brousard III.

Board Supports LAFCO Consolidation of Fire Departments

Supervisors, serving as commissioners of the Contra Costa County Fire District, pushed along on a 5-0 vote to have the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCO) to act on consolidating the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and financially struggling East Contra Costa Fire District.

ECCFD board member Joe Young told supervisors he will oppose the consolidation at the district’s board meeting on Sept. 16 because the consolidated district will continue to inadequately fund fire services in Oakley, Brentwood, and Discovery Bay. Young not elaborate at the supervisors’ meeting.

“There are a lot of details that have yet to be addressed on consolidation,” admitted CCCFPD Fire Chief Broussard. “We’ll bring leaders from both organizations to make this a successful annexation.”

While giving Board Chair Diane Burgis credit for being a key player in the merger of the two districts, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia said the newly enlarged fire district will draw fire protection upgrades especially with equipment and personnel once “millions of dollars of Proposition X sales tax funds” pour into the district. Gioia was a big backer for the Prop. X ballot measure to appear on last November’s election ballot.

A proposal to consolidate the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District into the enlarged CCCFPD was not considered by the supervisors. That proposal was dropped.

 

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Man in stolen truck from Antioch leads CHP on wrong-way pursuit, arrested Tuesday

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Stolen Antioch truck heads the wrong way on the eastbound Hillcrest Avenue offramp of Hwy 4 on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. CHP video screenshot.

By CHP Golden Gate Division Air Operations

Stolen truck on railroad tracks in Pittsburg on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. CHP video screenshot.

On the morning of September 14 2021, CHP airplane A-31 was returning to the Napa airport, when it’s onboard sensors detected a stolen vehicle in the Antioch area due to a LoJack stolen vehicle recovery system that utilizes GPS to locate users’ vehicles. A-31 began a search of the area, eventually locating the vehicle on city streets. (See video)

When ground units were requested to make an enforcement stop, the truck fled at a high rate of speed. The driver drove wrong way on surface streets and the freeway, entering Hwy 4 at the eastbound Hillcrest Avenue offramp. He exited the freeway on the eastbound onramp at Lone Tree Way, crossed under the overpass and re-entered westbound Hwy 4 in the correct direction. The driver then exited at Loveridge Road in Pittsburg. At one point, the truck became lodged on railroad tracks just north of the Antioch-Pittsburg Hwy aka W. 10th Street.

Driver and occupants flee stolen trucks on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. CHP video screenshot.

Eventually the occupants fled from the vehicle in a residential neighborhood and A-31 was able to track the driver to a backyard where he was apprehended.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

 

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Contra Costa college board places chancellor on paid administrative leave on split vote

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

After less than one year in the position; hired before new board members elected; passed on 3-0-1 vote with one trustee absent; no details provided; appoints Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology as acting chancellor

Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Bryan Reece. Source: 4CD

By Allen Payton

After less than a year in his new position, Contra Costa Community College District chancellor, Dr. Bryan Reece was placed on paid administrative leave effective immediately by a 3-0-1 vote of the governing board, during a special meeting Tuesday night. Ward 1 Trustee John Márquez voted to abstain, and Ward 5 Trustee Fernando Sandoval was absent, as he was out of town on vacation.

Reece started on Nov. 1, 2020 after he was chosen by the board in September, not long before two new trustees were elected, including Sandoval and Board Vice President and Ward 2 Trustee Dr. Judy Walters, the latter of whom voted for Tuesday’s board action. The board approved his contract last October, which includes a base annual salary of $315,000, with performance-based incentives. Later that month, three new trustees were elected to the board, two of whom voted for in support of the action. (See related articles here and here)

The decision was made in closed session under the subject “Public employee discipline / dismissal / release / complaint (Government Code Section 54957)” that began at 5:05 p.m. and lasted for four hours.

Mojdeh Mezhdizadeh. Photo: 4CD

According to the minutes of the meeting, “Mr. Li reconvened the public session at 9:05 p.m.  Mr. Li reported out on motion of Dr. Walters, seconded by himself, with one aye vote from Ms. Barrett, one abstention from Mr. Márquez, and Mr. Sandoval was absent for the vote, the GB (governing board) approved paid administrative leave for the Chancellor, effective immediately.  Mr. Li then adjourned the meeting at 9:06 p.m.  The next regular meeting of the GB will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.”

However, when reached for comment, Board President and Ward 3 Trustee Andy Li said, “we didn’t say anything during open session because it was a personnel matter. I made the statement, reporting out of closed session, since I’m the board president, informing the public of the decision.”

“Then a letter was sent out to the district employees, this morning,” he added.

In that letter, Li announced the action against Reece and the appointment of Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, who currently serves as Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology for the college district, as acting chancellor. (See related article)

Li’s Letter to District Staff

The following letter from Li was to district staff via email:

“This message is being forwarded on behalf of Governing Board President Andy Li

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Li, Andy” <ali@4cd.edu>

Subject: Governing Board Decision

Date: September 15, 2021 at 8:14:15 AM PDT

To: “Li, Andy” <ali@4cd.edu>

Dear 4CD Community,

At our special meeting last night, the Governing Board placed Chancellor Bryan Reece on administrative leave with pay due to personnel matters. The Governing Board has appointed Mojdeh Mehdizadeh to serve as Acting Chancellor until further notice.

We ask for your support of Mojdeh during this time.

Thank you.

Andy Li

ALi@4cd.edu
(860) 263-9540

President, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board”

————–

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Contra Costa DA’s Office appoints Arnold Threets as Chief of Inspectors

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

Arnold Threets is given his oath of office as the new Chief of Inspectors by Contra Costa District Attorney Diane Becton on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Source: CCDA

By Bobbi Mauler, Executive Assistant to the Contra Costa County District Attorney

New CCDA Chief of Inspectors Arnold Threets. Source: CCDA

District Attorney Diana Becton announced Tuesday, that the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office appointed Arnold Threets as the new Chief of Inspectors. He initially joined our Office in 2019 as the Assistant Chief of Inspectors and was sworn in today as our new Chief.  Please welcome him as the new Chief of Inspectors and below is his impressive bio:

Arnold is an experienced executive leader with almost 30 years of law enforcement experience. Prior to coming to the District Attorney’s Office, he spent the preceding 25 years with the Richmond Police Department where he served, managed, and lead various patrol, investigative, tactical, and administrative units. Arnold served with distinction, retiring from the Richmond Police Department as a Police Captain in November 2018.

Arnold has a strong operational background in field and investigative operations. This led to his selection as the founding Commander of RPD’s Special Investigative concept where he led the effort to reduce violent gang crime, by working closely with the City of Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety on a community driven, police-involved, focused deterrence model of preventing violent gun crime. This approach has become a national model for reducing violent gun crime, albeit without alienating the community we’re sworn to protect.

“I have known Chief Threets since I was a judge in Richmond and he was a young detective. I was always impressed with his demeanor, candor, and commitment to justice,” Becton shared. “I have watched his career as he rose all the way through the ranks of the Richmond Police Department, retiring as a Captain. Arnold continues to help our Office modernize and embrace new technologies and strengthen our protocol investigations.”

While at RPD, he developed an appreciation for the role technology could play in keeping our communities safe. He led RPD’s transition to a new computer aided dispatch (CAD)/Records Management System (RMS), as well as their adoption of Axon body worn cameras. This interest and experience with technology made him a natural fit to lead the Office’s expansion of the use of Evidence.com with our law enforcement partners throughout the County.

He joined the District Attorney’s Office in June of 2019 as the Assistant Chief of Inspectors. Since coming to the Office, he’s played a key role in the development, training and implementation of DA Becton’s new internal Protocol investigative process. At the request of the Contra Costa County Chiefs of Police Association, he partnered with former Chief Assistant Venus Johnson to train County law enforcement personnel on the changes to the law regarding the use of deadly force, as well as the updates to our internal investigative process.

Threets considers himself to be the ultimate ‘late bloomer’ in that he didn’t finish his formal education until he was in his 40’s. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Management from The Union Institute and University in Ohio and a Master’s Degree in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine. He graduated from CA POST Command College Class 56 and the Senior Management Institute for Policing (SMIP) Class 66.

“This is a position with significant responsibilities and I’m thankful to DA Becton for the confidence and trust she has placed in me,” Threets said. “I’ve been working in this community for over 27 years and it’s an honor to continue serving the citizens of Contra Costa County.”

He is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps and he and his wife, Tessa, have three adult children.

 

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Investigation of December incident involving Antioch councilwoman, her sons and police shows all her claims were “unfounded” or “not sustained”

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

Investigators hired in January following demand by Councilwoman Torres-Walker

By Allen Payton

It began as a routine traffic stop of two brothers riding dirt bikes illegally on Antioch streets. But it turned into an online, anger-filled, profanity-laced diatribe by a newly elected, anti-cop councilwoman, that continued with her demand for an outside investigation and her filing of a formal complaint against the officers. That resulted in the hiring of an independent investigator who produced a report showing all of the councilwoman’s complaints about how she and her sons were mistreated were baseless. (See related articles here, here and here)

Over eight months after the incident between Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, her two sons and police officers occurred on Dec. 29, 2020, and over seven months after she demanded the investigation and filed the formal complaint, the Confidential Executive Summary of the investigative report from the independent investigator, Oppenheimer Investigations Group, has finally been released. It was made available Tuesday night by Antioch Police Chief T Brooks and describes each of the councilwoman’s claims as either “unfounded” or “not sustained”.

The investigation included interviews with Torres-Walker, APD Officers Calvin Prieto and Andrea Rodriguez, and five others, who were not named in the executive summary nor shared by Brooks, as it is a personnel matter. The investigation included video footage and documents. Those are part of the criminal report which is not yet available.

The Executive Summary provides details of what occurred during the traffic stop and confrontation of the officers by Torres-Walker, as well as your complaints and the findings by Vida Thomas of Oppenheimer.

See the six-page here Executive Summary of Report Concerning Complaint Filed by Tamisha Walker and below.

Questions for Torres-Walker

Torres-Walker was asked if she had the chance to read the Executive Summary and if she had any response or comments she wanted to share. In addition, the councilwoman was asked if she had seen the complete report, including the video footage and documents referred to on page 2, below the heading 1. Introduction and Scope?

She did not respond as of publication time.

Q&A With Chief Brooks

Asked if the complete Investigative Report has been provided to Councilwoman Torres-Walker, and/or the mayor and other council members, he responded, “No. They received the same document you did. The full investigative report is part of the officers’ personnel file and is confidential.  The executive summary was written specifically to provide publicly available information due to the public interest generated in this case.”

In addition, he was asked if the related video footage and documents were available to the public, what video footage was included in the investigation other than the councilwoman’s online rant and if there was cell phone video of the incident. Brooks responded, “Any/all video gathered regarding this incident is part of the criminal report, which is not yet publicly available.”

The criminal report is about the arrest of Torres-Walker’s older son, Yomani Mapp, for evading police after he didn’t stop, when the police attempted to pull him, over while he was riding a dirt bike. Antioch Police submitted a felony charged against Mapp using Vehicle Code (VC) 2800.4, because he drove in the opposite direction while evading police. He could have faced six months to a year in jail or a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, or both. But Contra Costa DA Diana Becton reduced the charge to a misdemeanor using VC 2800.1(a) for just evading police and, if convicted, Mapp could face up to one year in jail. The filing with the court occurred on March 23, the same day Torres-Walker made a $500 contribution to Becton’s re-election committee, according to the DA’s campaign finance report.

Follow up questions were sent to Brooks asking, “when will the criminal report be publicly available, please? And is it completed?” He responded, “The criminal report has been completed and a complaint was filed by the DA’s office.  However, the case has not yet been adjudicated.”

He was also asked if all the witnesses cooperated with the investigation and who were the other five witnesses. Did they include Torres-Walker’s sons, and residents of the nearby homes or other witnesses at or near the scene? “The executive summary is all the information being provided to the public,” Brooks responded. “The details of full investigation cannot be disclosed.”

Finally, he was asked why did it take over seven months to complete and is that common for outside, independent investigations? “Each investigation is unique and the time to complete them varies for differing reasons,” Brooks stated.

Investigation Cost

The contract for the investigation included payment of $420 per hour for the lead investigator, $180 per hour for an editor/writer and $120 per hour for an intern’s time, as well as other related costs of the investigation.  Brooks didn’t know how much it cost the city saying, “All legal services are paid through the city attorney’s office.” An email was then sent to City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith asking how many hours was spent on the investigation and the total amount the city has paid or will pay. He did not respond before publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

CONFIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Oppenheimer Investigations Group LLP September 1, 2021

I. INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE

On January 14, 2021, the City of Antioch (“the City”) retained Oppenheimer Investigations Group LLP (“OIG”) to conduct an impartial investigation of Antioch City Councilmember Tamisha Walker’s complaint against Antioch Police Department (“APD”) officers Calvin Prieto and Andrea Rodriguez, who are assigned to APD’s Traffic Unit. Vida Thomas was the principal investigator.

On December 29, 2020, Prieto and Rodriguez, who were on patrol, observed Walker’s two sons, who were 23 years old and 13 years old at the time, riding a motorized, off-road dirt bike and an off-road ATV, respectively. The officers began pursuing the older son. After the pursuit, Prieto and Rodriguez detained the 13-year-old. In a formal complaint filed on January 27, 2021, Walker alleged that Prieto and Rodriguez dangerously pursued her oldest son, tried purposely to hit him with their patrol car, and verbally and physically mistreated the younger son while detaining him.1 (See Exhibit 1.) In an interview with the undersigned, Walker also alleged that both officers spoke discourteously to her younger son before she arrived at the scene, and that Prieto spoke discourteously to her once she arrived.

Once the scope of the investigation was determined and agreed upon, the investigator operated with complete independence as to witness identification, interview content, and preparation of findings. The investigation included interviews with eight witnesses – including Ms. Walker, Officer Prieto and Officer Rodriguez – a review of video footage, and a review of documents.

This is a Confidential Executive Summary of an Investigative Report. It is anticipated that this Report will be maintained confidentially by the decision-makers and will not be disseminated except as required by law or as determined by the decision-makers.

II. FINDINGS

At the request of APD, the investigator used the following findings used in APD administrative investigations, pursuant to Policy 1011.6.3. Thus, the investigator used these findings where applicable:

Unfounded – When the investigation discloses that the alleged acts did not occur or did not involve department members. Complaints that are determined to be frivolous will fall within the classification of unfounded (Penal Code § 832.8).

Exonerated – When the investigation discloses that the alleged act occurred but that the act was ustified, lawful and/or proper.

Not sustained – When the investigation discloses that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the member.

Sustained – A final determination by an investigating agency, commission, board, hearing officer, or arbitrator, as applicable, following an investigation and opportunity for an administrative appeal pursuant to Government Code § 3304 and Government Code § 3304.5 that the actions of an officer were found to violate law or department policy (Penal Code § 832.8).

No Finding – The complainant failed to disclose promised information to further the investigation; the investigation revealed another agency was involved, and the complaint or complainant has been referred to that agency; the complainant wishes to withdraw the complaint or the complainant is no longer available for clarification.

A. FINDINGS CONCERNING OFFICER PRIETO

1. Did Officer Prieto engage in racial profiling of Walker’s sons? (Policy 401.3 – Bias- Based profiling Prohibited)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Prieto engaged in racial profiling of Walker’s sons.

The evidence showed that, while patrolling along A Street as a normal part of their traffic enforcement duties, Prieto and Rodriguez saw Walker’s sons riding a dirt bike and an ATV on the wrong side of the street towards oncoming traffic, and creating a traffic hazard. The evidence also showed that Prieto and Rodriguez had a legitimate law enforcement reason, unrelated to race, for pursuing Walker’s sons.

2. Did Officer Prieto engage in a racially biased use of force towards either son? (Policy 300.2.2 – Fair and Unbiased Use of Force)

Unfounded. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Prieto engaged in a racially biased use of force towards Walker’s sons. That evidence did not support a finding that Prieto tried to hit the older son with the patrol vehicle or run him off the road; had his hand on his taser as he exited the patrol car after stopping the younger son; pulled his taser when approaching the younger son; or pushed the younger son to the ground after he stepped off the ATV.

A preponderance of the evidence supported a finding that Prieto did handcuff the younger son, but only after the younger son engaged in behavior that gave the officer reasonable concern that he would be a harm to himself or others or attempt to flee. Therefore, the handcuffing complied with APD policy.

3. Did Officer Prieto engage in an unreasonable use of force towards Walker’s sons? (Policy 300.3 – Use of Force)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Prieto tried to hit the older son with the patrol vehicle or run him off the road; had his hands on his taser while exiting the patrol car; pulled his taser when approaching the younger son; or pushed the younger son to the ground after he stepped off the ATV.

A preponderance of the evidence supported a finding that Prieto handcuffed the younger son while he was detained. However, the officer only did so after developing a reasonable concern that the younger son would harm himself or others or flee. Therefore, the handcuffing complied with APD policy.

4. Did Officer Prieto behave in an uncivil, disorderly, or unprofessional manner towards Walker’s younger son? (Policy 300.3.1 – De-Escalation Requirement)

Unfounded. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Prieto behaved in an uncivil, disorderly, or unprofessional manner towards the younger son.

Walker reported that Prieto made rude comments to her younger son while he was being detained. Prieto denied making the comments, and Rodriguez denied hearing Prieto make the comments. The available video footage of the incident was not very revelatory. Therefore, there was insufficient evidence that Prieto made the comments ascribed to him.

5. Did Officer Prieto behave in an uncivil, disorderly or unprofessional manner towards Tamisha Walker? (Policy 1001.3.1(a) – Conduct Unbecoming-Neglect of Duty; Policy 1001.3.4(a) – Behavior During Public Contact)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Officer Prieto behaved towards Tamisha Walker in an uncivil, disorderly or unprofessional manner. The evidence showed that Prieto’s behavior complied with the APD’s interpretation of the applicable APD policy.

6. Did Prieto’s report fail to accurately reflect the December 29, 2020 incident? (Policy 326.1.1 – Report Preparation)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Prieto’s report failed to accurately reflect the December 29, 2020 incident.

The Combined Case Report (“Report”) prepared by Prieto and Rodriguez (Exhibit 2), appears to comply with the requirements set forth in APD Policy 326.1.1. The Report accurately reflect the incident that occurred on December 29, 2020. Its description of the incidents is consistent with the evidence gathered during this investigation, including video camera footage. There is no evidence that anything in the Report is false.

B. FINDINGS CONCERNING OFFICER RODRIGUEZ

1. Did Officer Rodriguez engage in racial profiling of Walker’s sons? (Policy 401.3 – Bias-Based profiling Prohibited)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence does not support a finding that Rodriguez engaged in racial profiling of Walker’s sons.

The evidence showed that, while patrolling along A Street as a normal part of their traffic enforcement duties, Prieto and Rodriguez saw Walker’s sons riding a dirt bike and an ATV on the wrong side of the street towards oncoming traffic, and creating a traffic hazard. The evidence also showed that Rodriguez had a legitimate law enforcement reason, unrelated to race, for pursuing Walker’s sons.

2. Did Officer Rodriguez engage in a racially biased use of force towards either son? (Policy 300.2.2 – Fair and Unbiased Use of Force)

Unfounded. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Rodriguez engaged in a racially biased use of force towards Walker’s sons. That evidence did not support a finding that, while pursuing the sons on A Street, Rodriguez’s patrol car almost struck the older son and tried to run him off the road.

3. Did Officer Rodriguez engage in an unreasonable use of force towards Walker’s sons? (Policy 300.3 – Use of Force)

Unfounded. As set forth in the finding above, a preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Rodriguez tried to strike Walker’s sons while pursuing the older son.

Therefore, the allegation that Officer Rodriguez engaged in an unreasonable use of force towards Walker’s sons was unfounded.

4. Did Officer Rodriguez behave in an uncivil, disorderly, or unprofessional manner towards Walker’s younger son? (Policy 1001.3.1(a) – Conduct Unbecoming-Neglect of Duty; Policy 1001.3.4(a) – Behavior During Public Contact)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Rodriguez behaved in an uncivil, disorderly, or unprofessional manner towards the younger son.

Walker reported that Rodriguez made rude comments to her younger son while he was being detained. Rodriguez denied making the comments, and Prieto denied hearing Rodriguez make the comments. The available video footage of the incident was not very revelatory. Therefore, there was insufficient evidence that Rodriguez made the comments ascribed to him.

For these reasons, this allegation was not sustained.

5. Did Officer Rodriguez behave in an uncivil, disorderly or unprofessional manner towards Tamisha Walker? (Policy 1001.3.1(a) – Conduct Unbecoming-Neglect of Duty; Policy 1001.3.4(a) – Behavior During Public Contact)

Unfounded. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Officer Rodriguez behaved in an uncivil, disorderly or unprofessional manner towards Tamisha Walker.

It is undisputed that, throughout her encounter with Walker, Rodriguez behaved in a calm manner, using de-escalation techniques to address Walker’s concerns. However, Walker said that when Rodriguez initially called her from the scene to report that her younger son had been stopped, Rodriguez made a rude and unprofessional comment to her, a claim Rodriguez denied. There was no evidence to corroborate this claim and for this reason, this allegation was unfounded.

6. Did Officer Rodriguez’s report fail to accurately reflect the December 29, 2020 incident? (Policy 326.1.1 – Report Preparation)

Not sustained. A preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Rodriguez’s report failed to accurately reflect the December 29, 2020 incident.

The Combined Case Report (“Report”) prepared by Prieto and Rodriguez (Exhibit 2), appeared to comply with the requirements set forth in APD Policy 326.1.1. The Report accurately reflected the incident that occurred on December 29, 2020. Its description of the incidents were consistent with the evidence gathered during this investigation, including video camera footage. There was no evidence that anything in the Report was false.

Respectfully submitted,

Vida Thomas

1 The names of Walker’s sons are withheld from this summary out of respect for their privacy. They are referred to herein as her older son and her younger son. Walker did not consent to her sons being interviewed

Attorney-Client Privileged

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Contra Costa restaurants, gyms, theaters must require proof of vax or COVID test as of Sept. 22

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

“How is it our responsibility to be the vaccine police!!” – Contra Costa restaurant owner

“the peak of the surge seems to have passed” – CC Health Services

We can’t give you an exact percentage of cases that can be attributed to restaurants and the other high-risk venues covered in the order.” – CC Health Services spokesman

By Allen Payton

Source: The Rutherford Institute.

Shades of Nazi Brown Shirts will begin next week in Contra Costa County as patrons of restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues will hear something similar to the phrase used during World War II by the Hitler-led German regime, “Your Papers, Please!” That’s because as of Wednesday, Sept. 22, by order of the county’s unelected health officer, Dr. Chris Farnitano, those types of businesses in the county must require patrons show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to enter, even though “the peak of the surge seems to have passed” as mentioned in the press release from Contra Costa Health Services.

According to the press release, “The new order applies to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities, including yoga and dance studios, where patrons breathe more heavily due to exercise.”

However, the announcement doesn’t provide what percentage of COVID cases in the county can be attributed to those types of businesses, supporting the need for the order. It also doesn’t allow for those who have proof of recovering from COVID in the past three months, as they have higher levels of anti-bodies than people who have been fully vaccinated, especially those who received their shot or shots five to eight months ago.

The order was issued Tuesday afternoon in the following press release:

COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination or Test Required for Some Contra Costa Businesses

Contra Costa County joined San Francisco, Berkeley and other communities across the U.S. today with a countywide health order that increases COVID-19 safety in restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses where there is elevated risk of the virus spreading.

The new order, effective September 22, requires patrons of these businesses to show proof they are fully vaccinated to enter indoor areas, or a negative COVID-19 test result from the past three days.

Contra Costa has endured a severe spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this summer due to the increasing prevalence of the highly infectious delta variant of the virus and unvaccinated residents.

While the peak of the surge seems to have passed, data show the county’s daily case rate remains as high as it was last February. There were 15 COVID-related deaths in Contra Costa from August 25 to 31, and 20 from September 1 to 7, the two highest seven-day totals since March. Unvaccinated residents account for 95.9% of the county’s deaths so far.

COVID-19 case rates are about five times higher in unvaccinated county residents compared to fully vaccinated residents, hospitalization rates are approximately 16 times higher, and death rates are approximately 22 times higher.

“This order is necessary now to save lives, protect our overburdened healthcare system, and slow the pandemic enough to keep our schools open,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer. “Reducing community transmission of the virus now is key to preventing future spikes in cases from overwhelming our county’s hospitals during the winter months.”

The new order applies to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities, including yoga and dance studios, where patrons breathe more heavily due to exercise.

The order also includes a requirement for workers in indoor areas of these businesses to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 by November 1 or test weekly for COVID-19.

To show proof of vaccination, patrons must show photo ID and their vaccination record cards from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), or copies or pictures of their cards. Documentation from healthcare providers will also be accepted, as will digital COVID-19 vaccine records issued by the State of California.

Visit myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov for a link to your digital vaccination, which can be downloaded on to your smartphone.

Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for more information about this health order, or to find a safe, fast and free COVID-19 vaccination in Contra Costa County.

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Restauranteurs Respond

Restaurant owners in the county responded to the news with frustration. “How is it our responsibility to be the vaccine police!!” shared one owner who chose to remain anonymous.

“Kiss the restaurants good-bye,” said another, also anonymously.

However, another restaurant owner said anonymously, “We need to contribute to the pandemic to get better.”

Questions For Health Services

In response, questions were sent to county health services staff asking, “what percentage of COVID cases in the county can be attributed to restaurants, indoor entertainment venues and gyms, please?”

In addition, they were asked, “why not include what other countries are requiring for those who want to travel there, which is proof of having COVID within the past three months, since those folks have higher levels of antibodies than those who have been vaccinated, especially those who have been five to eight months ago?”

9/16/21 UPDATE: No Percentages of Impact from Affected Businesses

Contra Costa Public Health Services spokesman Will Harper responded with the following: “We can’t give you an exact percentage of cases that can be attributed to restaurants and the other high-risk venues covered in the order. Due to the nature of these businesses, it is not always possible to identify all the patrons who were exposed and infected by a case at one of these sites.  What we can say is that indoor settings where people remove their masks, such as restaurants and bars, or where they breathe heavily, such as in a gym, increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. As the order states, outbreaks have been documented in bars, gyms, and restaurants in California this year.

Currently there is no scientific consensus on the strength or duration of natural immunity after a covid-19 infection, or how reliably to measure this. For now, we felt most confident in requiring proof of vaccination. Vaccination is still recommended for people who have had Covid-19 to boost their immunity and protect them from a repeat infection from Covid-19. We have clear data showing that vaccinated people are more protected the unvaccinated people, regardless or prior Covid-19 infection history.”

A follow up question was sent asking what factors Dr. Farnitano will use to determine when this latest order will end.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Gubernatorial Recall Election results available Tuesday night

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Initial unofficial results for the Recall Election will be available shortly after 8:00 pm

By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach/Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department

The first unofficial results report for the Gubernatorial Recall Election will be released shortly after at 8:00 pm on election night, September 14 and posted to the Elections Division website www.cocovote.us immediately afterward. The initial posted results will be Vote by Mail ballots that are returned through Monday, September 13 and in person early votes from prior to election day.

The second report, with results from the polls, will be issued at approximately 9:30 pm with subsequent updates approximately every half hour until all poll precincts have reported. The final unofficial election night report is expected to be issued by 1:00 am.

The first interim report will be posted by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 17 and will contain results from timely Vote by Mail ballots received on and after Election Day. The second interim report will be posted by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 24. Additional results will be posted each Friday afternoon up to certification which is expected to be October 8. All results remain unofficial until certification.

The availability of updated reports will be communicated via Twitter and Facebook. Changes to the reporting schedule, if any, will also be communicated on these social media sites.

The Contra Costa Elections Division social media pages are:
https://www.Twitter.com/CoCoElections
https://www.facebook.com/ContraCostaElections/

 

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Payton Perspective: Antioch mayor and 3 council members need to hold off on city employee vax and testing mandate

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Photo courtesy of CC Health Services.

Only Barbanica wisely voted against; city doesn’t know the costs, yet; lawsuits over similar mandates filed, more expected; no meet and confer, yet with APOA; any policy must include the 3 CDC proclaimed “effective” therapies with the same FDA Emergency Use Authorization the vaccines have had

By Allen Payton, Publisher

During their meeting Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council will consider approving a “COVID-19 Mandatory Testing and Vaccination Policy” for all city employees, contractors and volunteers. It would require they get one of the COVID-19 vaccines or undergo weekly testing. According to the city staff report for the agenda item, “During the August 24, 2021 City Council meeting, the City Council directed staff to return to Council with a resolution…with costs borne by the City, time to do so would be limited to a certain duration, and the policy would include a start and end date.” (See agenda Item 13)

It was proposed by Mayor Lamar Thorpe during a press conference in August and supported by him, and all council members except District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica.”

That was in spite of the fact that two of the council members, Districts 1 and 3 Councilwomen Tamisha Torres-Walker and Lori Ogorchock spoke against a mandate, during that meeting, before voting to support it.

Don’t Know Costs, Yet

Also, according to the staff report the city doesn’t even know, yet what the cost of such a mandate will be. It reads, “Costs related to this policy are unknown at this time. Costs may include, but may not be limited to, the cost of weekly testing, the cost of a third part to administer the test, mileage, loss in productivity.”

Wait for Lawsuits Over Other Mandates to Be Settled

Multiple lawsuits are expected to be filed against President Biden’s national mandate he just issued in an executive order, last week. According to the New York Post, “Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, issued a statement Thursday calling the mandate unnecessary, overbearing and counterintuitive.

‘This executive order villainizes employees for reasonable concerns and hesitancies and interest the federal government into individual medical decisions,’ Cosme said. ‘People should not be made to feel uncomfortable for making a reasonable medical choice.’”

There has also been a lawsuit filed “by a slew of unions” against Mayor DeBlasio for his mandate in that city.

Antioch council members should hold off for the results of those lawsuits before opening up our city to legal challenges and costs.

Violates Health Privacy – Were City Employee Groups Consulted?

Questions were sent to city staff, early Monday afternoon asking, “Have city staff met with the various employee groups to meet and confer on the proposed ordinance for mandating COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing? If so, what were the results of those meet and confer meetings? Do their contracts need to be amended? If so, did all the groups agree to that?”

They were also asked, “isn’t this a violation of privacy of city employees, contractors, and volunteers, specifically with regards to their health and medical care, since they have to reveal to other city staff members if they’ve had a specific medical treatment or not?”

APOA Requests for Meet and Confer Ignored

Corporal Steve Aiello, Vice President of the Antioch Police Officers Association said there’s been no meet and confer, yet for his organization.

“On two occasions the APOA has reached out to the city, to (Administrative Services Director) Nickie Mastay in personnel and requested a meet and confer,” he stated. “But there’s been no response.”

“It’s a work condition change,” Aiello added as the reason a meet and confer is required.

Additional questions were then sent to City Manager Ron Bernal, after Monday work hours with, “Ron, I just spoke with Steve Aiello of the APOA. He said they’ve sent two email messages to Nickie Mastay requesting a meet and confer on the vaccine and testing mandate, but she has not responded. Is that correct? If so, why not? He said it’s required since it’s a change to their work conditions. Is that true? If so, shouldn’t the APOA and all the city’s employee groups have a meet and confer on the mandate before the council takes a vote?” As of 6:30 p.m. he has not responded to either the emailed nor texted questions, nor has City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith.

Please check back later for their responses should they provide them.

Painful Weekly Testing Alternative, Punishment for No Vaccine, One Test Ineffective

Nurse’s tweet of COVID test graphic.

While the proposed policy includes an alternative for weekly testing for those employees, contractors and volunteers who choose to not take a vaccine, have any of the council members been tested? Do they know how painful it is having those swabs scrape the back of your nose and throat? If not, all four should undergo that, first to see what they’re planning on subjecting our city employees, contractors and volunteers to that weekly pain, before voting to mandate it as one of the two options.

According to a New York Times report, “If you’ve seen the test (there are plenty of Instagram videos), then you know it looks as if someone is poking your brain: A swab is inserted deep in through your nostrils…The test itself is quick — only a few seconds — but most describe the sensation as highly uncomfortable.”

According to a Newsweek report, “’This test being demonstrated is a nasopharyngeal swab or NP swab collection. It uses a small flocked swab on a flexible plastic shaft to collect a sample from the posterior nasopharynx,’ Wesley Long, a microbiologist from Houston Methodist Hospital, told Newsweek. ‘Nasopharynx’ is a term that refers to the back part of your nose where it joins the throat.”

I watched as my son get a COVID test last year, and he winced when they put those long swabs up his nostrils. Then I had a test recently and now I know why he winced. I did, too. Ouch, two times! So, basically, that part of the mayor and council majority’s mandate would effectively serve as punishment for those employees, contractors and volunteers who won’t take the vaccine.

Plus, one of the COVID-19 tests that has been in use since February 2020 has been determined ineffective and discontinued by the CDC – but not until Dec. 31, 2021 for some unknown reason – because it can’t tell the difference between the virus and the flu. Yet, those test kits are still being used. The CDC has requested that a new test be developed. The council should wait on that, as well.

Dangerous Side Effects of Vaccines, Other Medical Conditions, Religious Exemption

I’m not going to get into all the details of the fact that there are good reasons for people who don’t want the vaccines due to all their dangerous side effects, have other medical conditions that prevent them from taking the vaccine or have a fundamental religious conviction for not wanting the jab.

Vaccines Still in Clinical Trials, Mandate Violates Nuremberg Code

Plus, all three of the vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials one until Nov. 1, another until 2023 and the third until 2024! (See Moderna Dose-Confirmation Study to Evaluate the Safety, Reactogenicity, and Immunogenicity of mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccine in Adults Aged 18 Years and Older here, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 BNT162b2 Vaccine Effectiveness Study here, and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson Study of (COVID-19) in Adults here)

So, they’re still experimental and therefore such a mandate clearly violates the Nuremberg Code which was established after World War II in response to the Nazis experimenting on the Jews during the Holocaust and others. It prohibits medical experimentation on humans without their consent.

According to the National Institutes of Health website the first lines read, “The Nuremberg Code 1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.”

CDC – “Effective Therapeutics Are Available”

According to the CDC’s website under the subheading, “SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibody Therapies” it reads, “In the United States, there are three anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody treatments with FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the treatment of COVID-19: bamlanivimab plus etesevima, casirivimab plus imdevimab, and sotrovima.” In addition, the CDC website reads, “effective therapeutics are available.”

The only public mention of monoclonal antibody therapies by the government or major media that I’ve read or heard has been about what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing in his state to offer it to his state’s residents at multiple locations. Yet, the CDC’s website offers treatment recommendations and guidelines for administering the alternative therapies.

According to a report by CBS4 Miami, “Monoclonal antibody treatments can be prescribed by health care providers to individuals 12 years of age and older who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are at high risk for severe illness and hospitalization.”

Council Should Wait

For these reasons and more, the council should wait to approve the testing and vaccine mandate policy. In the meantime, just follow the current CDC guidelines and if a city employee, contractor or volunteer is experiencing COVID symptoms, the must stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days.

However, if the council insists on moving forward with their mandate, they must include the three effective therapies in their policy, so employees who don’t want the vaccine will have an alternative to painful, weekly testing. Otherwise, they’re acting like they’re medical experts, and worse, Nazis, not following the science, the CDC or FDA, nor abiding by the Nuremberg Code and giving OUR city employees – because they work for and are paid by we the people – all the options available to them.

Proposed Policy

Following is the language for the proposed policy resolution:

RESOLUTION NO. 2021/**

RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANTIOCH ADOPTING A COVID-19 TESTING AND VACCINATION POLICY

WHEREAS, the City has an interest in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of City personnel, community members with whom City personnel interact, and all residents and visitors of the City;

WHEREAS, many City employees come in close contact with members of our community as part of their daily job duties and this often includes members of our community who are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time, such as children under the age of twelve, or those with medical conditions contraindicated for the vaccine;

WHEREAS, all City of Antioch employees are designated to be Disaster Service Workers under California Government Code sections 3100-3109 and are required to return to work during an emergency;

WHEREAS, all City employees shall either be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be subject to weekly COVID-9 testing requirements; and

WHEREAS, this policy is an effective way to ensure that City personnel do not pose harm to the public or other employees.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Antioch as follows:

Section 1. The COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Policy shall address: vaccinations; weekly testing for City employees and contracted personnel at the City’s expense for a specified duration that commences on October 1, 2021.

Section 2. Policy implementation shall be administratively executed by the City Manager and incorporatee any applicable Federal, State and local policy directives on an ongoing basis.

 

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