Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Parents: talk to your teen driver about safe driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 17-23, 2021

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 17-23, 2021. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Your teen is in the driver’s seat, but you’re in control

It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week. This week, and every week, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers.

Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States.

In 2019, there were 2,042 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 628 deaths were the teen driver.

Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks. You should let your teen drivers know that obeying the rules of the road is a must. Breaking the rules leads to walking, riding the bus, using rideshare or going back to begging for rides from mom and dad.

The Rules of the Road

Wear seat belts

The car doesn’t move until everyone is buckled up — front seat and back, on every trip, every time. Almost half of the passengers killed in cars driven by teen drivers in recent years weren’t buckled up in 2019.

No drinking and no drugs

Emphasize the fact that it’s illegal to drink before you’re 21 — and that driving drunk or high is unacceptable at any age. In 2019, 16% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

No distractions

Driving is the first and only task when behind the wheel. That means no phones or texting while driving, and not doing anything else — like eating, drinking, or fixing hair and makeup — when you should fully focus on driving. About 10% of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in recent years were distracted at the time of the crash. Teens should activate the “do not disturb” feature on their phones to eliminate the distractions notifications cause.

No speeding

About 27% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding in 2019. Faster speeds rob inexperienced teen drivers of the extra reaction time they may need to avoid a crash. Emphasize that they must obey posted speed limits.

Limit extra passengers

Teen drivers are at a greater risk for a crash when they have others in their car. Passengers can serve as a distraction for inexperienced teen drivers, and that’s why many states’ graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions prohibit any passengers in vehicles with teen drivers. GDL laws also set other limits on teen drivers for safety.

Drowsy Driving

We all know how important sleep is, especially for your teens during the school year when studying can cause long nights. Remind your teen the importance of a good night’s sleep, and the dangers of drowsy driving.

Don’t just set the rules — set the example

Parents, you’re role models. When a teen driver sees you obeying the rules of the road, they get the message. If you’re breaking the rules, they may adopt those behaviors when they’re on the road. Check yourself: assess how you’re driving (whether you’re following the rules of the road) and think about what your driving communicates to your teen driver.

While National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great reminder to discuss safe driving as a family, keep the conversation going year-round. If you do, you’ll not only better protect your young driver, you’ll be contributing to safer roads in your community. For even more information, visit our Teen Driving section.

The Antioch Police Department contributed to this report.

 

 

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Antioch’s Mau Loa Ohana Hula and Tahitian Dance Studio reopens with exciting night of Polynesian dancing, surprises

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Mau Loa Ohana dancers Dec. 2019. Source: Mau Loa Ohana

See unique costumes by Antioch designer

After a nearly two-year hiatus, due to COVID-19, the troupe of Polynesian dancers from the Mau Loa Ohana Hula and Tahitian Dance Studio in Antioch, owned and operated by Monique Castaneda, is returning to the stage for a very special night of exciting entertainment and everyone is invited to attend.

Please join us on Saturday evening, October 23, 2021, at the Liberty High School Theater in Brentwood, for an evening filled with exciting Polynesian music and dancing along with a very special treat for everyone who attends.  The doors open at 7:00 PM and the show starts at 7:30 PM.  (Facemasks are required.) Tickets are $15.00 per person and can be purchased at the dance studio located at 1360 Sunset Drive in Antioch. (just a couple doors down from Aladino’s Pizza) or you can call them at (925) 550-8155.

This event is very special because Castaneda and the Mau Loa Ohana dancers have recently teamed up with an extraordinary costume designer from Antioch, Julie Carlson of Outside of the Box Costume and Apparel Designs. She, like Castaneda used to be a Tahitian dancer herself and they will be presenting something extra special to the audience that evening. 

Carlson has created an extremely unique Tahitian dance costume design. It will be the first time anyone has publicly debuted a Tahitian dance costume that incorporates this unique feature, giving the entire dance a new look and feel.  Carlson looked everywhere to see if anyone else has done anything like this and could not find anything that is even remotely like her new design. Prepare yourselves to be wowed!

For years, Castaneda had been dreaming that someday, someone would create such a costume. Throughout the years, Castaneda and her dance teams tried to come up with a way of creating a costume with these unique features, but alas, they couldn’t quite figure out how to make it happen.

The exact same story was true for Carlson but when she recently returned from a vacation in Hawaii this past July, she was once again inspired to try to bring her vision of this unique and new Tahitian dance costume design into reality.  And it appears that Carlson finally figured how to do it.  She then contacted Castaneda and they set up a time to meet each other for the very first time.  We’ll see what happens next. But both women think, with the help of the Mau Loa Ohana dancers, this exciting new costume design will, as they say, “go viral”.

Liberty High School is located at 850 2nd Street in Brentwood.

See you on the 23rd!

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Antioch Police arrest teen Oakland carjacking suspect following Hwy 4 chase to Brentwood

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Stolen car from Oakland recovered following chase and arrest of suspect on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Photos: APD

Causes John Muir Outpatient Center to be evacuated

By Lieutenant Joe Donleavy #6011 Field Services

An Antioch Officer and K9 helped search for the suspect.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at approximately 11:38 AM, Antioch Police Department Officers were advised that a vehicle taken during an armed carjacking in Oakland was traveling eastbound on Hwy 4 near Somersville Road in Antioch. Officers quickly located the vehicle and attempted to conduct an enforcement stop on it. The vehicle fled at a high rate of speed, leading officers on a pursuit eastbound on Hwy 4. During the pursuit, the stolen vehicle sideswiped an uninvolved vehicle near Laurel Road. The pursuit ultimately ended in Brentwood, when the suspect fled on foot into John Muir Outpatient Center at 2400 Balfour Road.

The center  was evacuated while officers from Antioch PD, Brentwood PD and the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office conducted a search for the suspect. He was located hiding in a bathroom and was taken into custody without incident. The suspect was identified as a 17-year-old male. He was eventually turned over to the Oakland Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Apologies for the delay in publishing this. The Herald was traveling over the past week and somehow missed this press release from APD.

 

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33rd Annual Kids Free Fishing Derby in Antioch Oct. 9

Friday, October 1st, 2021

As Compy Compomizzo used to say, “Get kids hooked on fishing, not on drugs and gangs.”

For more information about and photos of the Antioch Pier, aka Uril E. “Compy” Compomizzo Fishing Pier, click here.

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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.

09/27/21 UPDATE: The cost to the City of Antioch for the outside investigation was $44,610 the city attorney’s office revealed, today. In addition, they reported it consumed a total of 120.2 hours for the investigator, a writer/editor and an intern to complete their work. A breakdown of their individual costs was also requested of the city attorney’s office. (See article)

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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Antioch School Board President Householder calls special meeting to discuss district’s use of force policies

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

Emails show she wanted to have board “investigate” last Friday’s incident at Antioch High; superintendent refuses claiming violations of employees’ and student’s rights, her contract and Board Policy

Householder’s event post on Facebook, Tues., Aug. 31, 2021

By Allen Payton

In response to last Friday’s incident with a violent student at Antioch High School, which was caught on video that she posted on her official Facebook page, Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder has called a special meeting for Thursday, Sept. 2 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “District-wide Use of Force Policies and Procedures”. (See related article)

Householder posted an announcement of the meeting as an event on Facebook on Tuesday, August 31, at about 2:00 p.m. but it wasn’t posted on the district’s website until Wednesday afternoon.

Although the board president has the authority to call special meetings, which require just a 24-hour public notification, board policy requires it be an item of urgency that can’t wait for the next regular meeting, which requires a 72-hour public notification. The next regularly board meeting is scheduled for next Wed., Sept. 8.

Attempts to reach Householder to ask why the matter couldn’t wait until next week to be discussed were unsuccessful before publication time.

In response to a Public Records Act request, emails between Householder and Superintendent Stephanie Anello show the board president wanted the board to investigate the incident writing, “I have consulted with Vice President Dr. Lewis, and he agreed there are unanswered questions regarding the video of the incident at Antioch High on 8/27.

Please take this email as my official notice calling for a Special Meeting for Thursday, September 2nd at 6 PM, to investigate this incident. There will only need to be one item for discussion/action by the Board: ‘Inquiry into Social Media Post Circulated on August 27th incident at Antioch High School.’

  • I would like AUSD staff to be involved for questions, including administration and site safety.
  • Additionally, please invite Strategic Threat Management since we contract with them.
  • Please attach with this agenda item (1) Strategic Threat Management’s contract, (2) job duties for site safety personnel, and (3) and [sic] written policies that outline how violent situations regarding students is [sic] handled – this can be Antioch High specific, Board Policy, the District’s safety plan – anything to help the board understand different scenarios and responses.
  • Lastly, please provide any data we have on student arrests for the last 4-5 years, including but not limited to number of arrests, reasons, school site, grade, gender, and race. Typically, I would only ask for 3 years of data, however, because of COVID, I am extending that time span.”

Anello agreed to schedule the meeting, but refused the remainder of Householder’s requests writing, “I am happy to schedule a Special Meeting. Unfortunately, I can’t agree to the agenda items you requested below for the following reasons:

  • This is an ongoing investigation (at the time of your request, staff has had less than 24 business hours to investigate);
  • You are asking me to violate employee’s rights;
  • You are asking me to violate a student’s right to privacy;
  • You are breaching my employment contract;
  • You are violating Board Policy;

I’m sure there are many other ethical violations included in this request.

The one item I do believe the Board may discuss at this time is the STM contract. However, I want to go on record as stating I believe that absent of an investigation, this is inappropriate at this time. However, if this is what you would like the Board to consider, please advise and I will calendar the meeting.”

In response, Householder requested the contact information for the district’s attorney.

See complete email exchange between Householder and district staff regarding the special meeting, here: 083121 emails Householder & district staff CPRA 090121

Lewis Responds

When Lewis was asked to confirm his conversation with Householder, and if he supported having the board investigate the incident and her requests of Anello he responded, “No. I mentioned that it should review the procedures since the meeting had been called. That conversation happened after the decision to have the meeting was determined.”

Meeting Viewing and Public Comment Information

The meeting will be livestreamed and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/F-Dsas_w-s0. Persons wishing to make a public comment on items on the agenda can submit their comments until 4:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Comments can be submitted via an online form at https://tinyurl.com/ausd-public-comment-card or by email to kelliecavallaro@antiochschools.net. Comments received by 4:00 p.m. will be read to the public during the meeting.

Requirements for Calling Special Board Meetings

Education Code 35144 – Special Meetings:

A special meeting of the governing board of a school district may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the board, or by a majority of the members thereof, by delivering personally or by mail written notice to each member of the board, and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio, or television station requesting notice in writing. The notice shall be delivered personally or by mail at least 24 hours before the time of the meeting as specified in the notice. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business shall be considered at those meetings by the governing board. The written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the clerk or secretary of the board a written waiver of notice. The waiver may be given by telegram. The written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.

The call and notice shall be posted at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public and district employees.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 641, Sec. 1.)

From Government Code – Brown Act – Open Meeting Laws; Special Meetings:

a) A special meeting may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the legislative body of a local agency, or by a majority of the members of the legislative body, by delivering written notice to each member of the legislative body and to each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television station requesting notice in writing and posting a notice on the local agency’s Internet Web site, if the local agency has one. The notice shall be delivered personally or by any other means and shall be received at least 24 hours before the time of the meeting as specified in the notice. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted or discussed. No other business shall be considered at these meetings by the legislative body. The written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the clerk or secretary of the legislative body a written waiver of notice. The waiver may be given by telegram. The written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.

The call and notice shall be posted at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.

AUSD policy BB 9320 Meetings and Notices regarding who can call a Special Meeting:

Special meetings of the Board may be called at any time by the presiding officer or a majority of the Board members.  However, a special meeting shall not be called regarding the salary, salary schedule, or other compensation of the Superintendent, assistant superintendent, or other management employee as described in Government Code 3511.1. (Government Code 54956)

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Video of incident with student at Antioch High prompts principal’s response

Monday, August 30th, 2021

Both Antioch School Board President Householder, Councilwoman Torres-Walker post video before details were known

By Allen Payton

Following the posting of a TikTok video on Facebook of a police incident with a recent student at Antioch High School, Principal Louie Rocha sent out an email to parents providing more details. Both school board president Ellie Householder and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker posted the video on their official Facebook pages, without providing details. (WARNING: explicit language in video)

Rocha’s email to parents reads as follows:

“This weekend, a social media post circulated regarding an August 27th incident at Antioch High School.
School personnel have a duty to intervene when a student threatens harm to other students, themselves, or staff. Unfortunately, on Friday, a student threatened to do harm to an entire class, attacked another student, and became physical with staff despite repeated attempts to deescalate the student. At that time, a trained safety officer restrained the student and Antioch Police Department was called.

Unfortunately, when officers arrived, the student continued to resist instructions and was subsequently arrested.

While the situation is unfortunate, we take the safety of all students extremely seriously and cannot allow one student to threaten the safety of others. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Louie Rocha

Principal”

Householder’s post of the video on her official Facebook page on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Householder posted the following comment with the video. “Thank you to the parents, students, and community members who reached out to bring my attention to a recent TikTok post. In it, a video appears to show an altercation between a student and safety personnel at what looks like Antioch High School. While I don’t know the details surrounding this footage, historically, we know that disciplinary practices have been unfairly applied to Black male students. That is why I take this video and the allegations of excessive force against an AUSD student very, very seriously. I will follow up with folks once I learn more information.”

With her post of the video Torres-Walker wrote, “First I would like to thank the community members who reached out to me regarding this event.

I have no idea what led up to what seems like a very traumatic event to witness for students at Antioch High school and it is unacceptable for any student to have to face this kind of unnecessary treatment after being what seems to be fully subdued by force in an academic setting. I know that the city has no power or authority over how the school district handles its business and as a mother, this short video footage deeply concerns me.

If this video is as disturbing to watch for you as it was for me I would contact the school board president and the superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District and demand some answers.

Torres-Walker’s post of the AHS video on her official Facebook page on Saturday, Aug. 28.

School Board President

Ellie Householder

elliehouseholder@antiochschools.net

Superintendent

Stephanie Anello

(925) 779-7500 Ext. 55100

stephanieanello@antiochschools.net

It is my understanding that the Antioch Police Department was present on the scene I am withholding judgment until I received information as to what led up to the event and the aftermath.
This is not okay!!!”

UPDATE: According to Lt. Bittner of the Antioch Police Department’s Community Policing Bureau, “On August 27, 2021 at approximately 11:21 AM, a staff member at Antioch High School called the Antioch Police Department to report a fight on campus. Antioch Police Officers arrived within several minutes and located two security guards holding a student down on the ground in the quad area of the school. Several Antioch Police Officers assisted the security guards in placing the student in handcuffs. The student was ultimately placed under arrest and transported to the Antioch Police Department for assaulting a school employee, fighting on a school campus, and resisting or delaying an arrest.”

According to an official who chose to not be identified, the student was wearing a grill on his teeth that included fangs and he was trying to bite people.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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After weeks of waiting, wrangling with city staff, emails between Torres-Walker and Chief Brooks on rideout released

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Instagram post by Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker’s adult son, Yomani, promoting the rideout planned for Sunday, June 20th in Antioch and offering to provide the location for those who would direct message him. (Edited due to profanity) (Herald file screenshot)

Show her resistance to helping stop son from promoting illegal dirt bike ride on city streets; same son who fled police during incident in December

By Allen Payton

Following a Public Records Act request on June 16 for the email communication between Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and Antioch Police Chief T Brooks regarding the planned rideout that one of her sons was promoting and possibly organizing on social media, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith finally released them last Wednesday evening, July 14. _Emails to & from TBrooks & TTorres-Walker

Smith at first claimed attorney client privilege and provided several state codes to support it. However, the Herald researched and cited those codes in a response email, pointing out to him that nothing in the codes mentions any other city staff member but refers only to an attorney. The Herald asked Smith if he was included in the emails between Brooks and Torres-Walker and any other council member regarding the rideout. He did not respond. A further email was sent to Brooks and City Manager Ron Bernal asking the same question. Rather than responding, Smith released the emails to the Herald, later that day.

Torres-Walker Less Than Fully Cooperative Frustrating Brooks

The emails show resistance from Torres-Walker to Brooks’ request that she talk to her adult son, Yomani, to get him to stop organizing and promoting the event planned for Sunday, June 20, m on his Instagram account under the name “its_kyd”. At first she agreed to talk to him about it, But later Torres-Walker claimed he was not organizing the event nor knew who was, didn’t know where it would be held and that she didn’t think she talking to him would help.

Yomani is her same son who fled police during a pursuit of him and his younger brother who were riding off-road vehicles on A Street on December 29, 2020. That incident resulted in a 9-minute online video post by the councilwoman and has been under investigation by an outside firm hired by the police department at her request. The investigators report has yet to be released. (See related article)

Brooks first email to her on June 14 with the subject line “Need Your Help Please” reads in part:

“Good afternoon Councilmember Torres-Walker,

Several people have contacted me in regards to an illegal event planned to take place in Antioch this Sunday. Please see the attached screenshot advertising the event, which I’m being told is from your son Yomani’s Instagram account. These types of events are not only dangerous but illegal as well.

Some who are aware of this event (and your son’s alleged involvement) have mentioned wanting to notify local media outlets. I have asked that this not happen, but instead, allow me to stop the event from even occurring. My primary goal is to prevent this dangerous activity from taking place in our city. But I also hope to avoid any type of negative attention this would garner from the public (on you as an elected official, and us as a city) as well.

I am asking for your help to get this event canceled. Prevention is my first and ultimate goal. However, if you are unable to help, we will assemble a special enforcement detail using officers on overtime and seeking mutual aid help from neighboring agencies to address the public safety concern this event will create. We will take a zero-tolerance approach to any/all violations, resulting in arrests and towed vehicles for those participating. I would like to avoid this if at all possible.

Please let me know if you can help. I greatly appreciate it.”

He also shared screenshots of posts by Yomani on his Instagram page, previously shared by the Herald.

Torres-Walker responded in an email to Brooks that evening, and copied Bernal, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Public Information Officer Rolando Bonilla, with the following:

“Hello Chief Brooks,

Thank you for the email. I was not aware of this event and my son has never organized such an event. It looks like he may have shared an event that was organized by someone else on his personal social media page which is not illegal.

I have no power to stop this but I will talk to my son about not attending because I want him to be safe and I understand that once the police engage in these kinds of events people will and have been gravely injured and/or arrested.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.”

Brooks responded that same evening with another email to Torres-Walker:

“Thank you for your response.

I agree with you that these events are extremely dangerous. Injuries can be sustained by participants, spectators, innocent members of the public who are completely unattached to the event itself, and even officers who are assaulted by those who violently resist and/or use their vehicles as weapons against them.

I did not say your son was organizing the event – I said he was advertising it. I hoped that he or they could speak to the organizers and ask them not to bring this event to our community. It is not welcomed here.

Since you do not have the power to stop it, but would still like to help, I’ll ask that you please find out from your son where this event is scheduled to take place and provide me this information? His post says he knows where this is going to occur, and having this information ahead of time would greatly benefit us to secure the area and hopefully deter potential participants from stopping in the first place. Preventing the group from congregating/organizing would greatly reduce any likelihood of confrontation, making it safer for all.

Thank you in advance for helping us work to prevent this dangerous event from occurring in our city.”

Torres-Walker responded, once again, about a half-hour later, attempting to turn it around on police, with a brief reference to the incident in December, and those who had informed Brooks about her son’s social media posts for the June 20th planned rideout. She wrote:

“Hello Chief Brooks,

I get it and my son knows what it’s like to have someone use their vehicle as a weapon to harm him.

It seems like the location is never shared ahead of the day of the event so even if I wanted to help with that request I couldn’t.

Maybe the informants that are reporting activity on my son’s social media page can use their investigative skills to find out who is organizing the event and request the location.

I will talk to my son but since he is not organizing the event and has no idea who is I’m not sure that will help either.

Have a good evening,”

Torres-Walker’s son’s IG posts regarding the expected police response to the planned rideout. The one on the right was posted after Wednesday morning’s press conference by the mayor and police chief and after she apparently had spoken with him. (Herald file screenshots)

The following morning, Tuesday, June 15, Brooks sent an email to Bernal, Thorpe and Bonilla showing additional posts on social media by Yomani on his Instagram account with the words “Stop Snitching” and other posts warning those who might participate in the rideout to “Keep yo head ona swivel” to look out for police during the rideout.

A frustrated Brooks wrote in that email:

“All,

I have no intention on responding to Councilmember Torres-Walker’s below email. It is unfortunate that she is taking this stance and refusing to help prevent a dangerous event such as this from occurring in our city. Although she claims her son is not involved, it is clear from the original screenshot I included to start this conversation that is not true. To further evidence this, please see the below screenshots that her son posted last night. Obviously Councilmember Torres-Walker informed him of my request. But instead of helping prevent the dangerous event and negative publicity it will bring us as a city, it has appeared to embolden him and he has doubled down on his messaging to continue on with the event as planned. Not only will this cost the city taxpayers’ money in unnecessary police overtime, it is endangering the lives of those illegally riding on our streets, the innocent motorists on our roadways, and the officers tasked with trying to enforce the laws being willfully disregarded. This type of behavior is not good for our community.

T”

The following day, Wed., June 16, Thorpe and Brooks held a press conference about the rideout, asking people not to participate and warning them of a multi-agency effort, fines and $3,000 impound fees, should they be caught. During that press conference, Thorpe was asked if he had spoken to her to tell her son not to promote or participate in them. Thorpe responded, “this is about cancelling the event and let the public know we are going to hold people accountable. I’m not playing games.” (See related article)

The warnings appear to have worked, as the planned rideout did not occur that Sunday.

Challenge Obtaining Emails

By state law, government officials have 10 business days to release records requested by either the media or public. However, agencies can postpone the release by up to an additional 14 calendar days under certain circumstances. It took four weeks for Attorney Smith to release the requested emails.

On June 30th Lynn Dansie, the Police Records Supervisor, sent a letter to the Herald which read, “At the request of the City Attorney we have been asked to extend our response time…for up to 14 additional calendar days, in order to search for and collect records from a separate office/unit holding the information requested. You will be notified with a response to your request on our before, July 12, 2021.” (See              )

Asked what separate office/unit was holding the information and are all communications between city staff and council members done through their official city email accounts, neither Dansie nor Smith responded.

Then on July 1, the Herald made an additional request of all emails between Attorney Smith and council members about the rideout.

On July 8, Dansie emailed another letter that read, “Per the City Attorney, records requested are not releasable at this time. The records requests are being denied under GC (government code) 6254(k) as well as the attorney client privilege under EC 954 and attorney work product privilege under Cal. Code Civ. Pro. 2018.030(a).”

Asked if the letter applied to all emails, Dansie responsed, “The codes of GC 6254(k), EC 954 and Cal Code Civ Pro 2018.030(a) are applicable to both of the records requests involving emails.”

This reporter responded on July 13 with the following, which included citing the language from the sections of those government codes:

“Thomas,

Were you included in the emails between Chief Brooks and Councilwoman Torres-Walker or any other member of the APD staff and any council member regarding the planned rideout on June 20, 2021?

Because I researched the codes provided in Lynn’s email sent yesterday, and if not, then those codes do not apply as they mention nothing about any other person, only an attorney, and you therefore must release the emails to me…post haste. Otherwise please cite the portion of those codes that do apply.

I understand you trying to protect your clients, the council members, from any possible embarrassment over what they wrote in their communication with the chief and/or any other member of the APD or city staff. But that’s not protected under the PRA according to the codes you have provided. So, let’s stop wasting all of this city staff time…and let’s allow the public to know what’s happening with their government and communicated by their elected representatives.”

Smith responded via email the next day, providing the requested emails and included an explanation of why the emails between him and city council members could not be released.

“Dear Mr. Payton,

On June 16, 2021, the City of Antioch received a California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) requesting “copies of any emails/communications between yourself (Chief Brooks)/police department/Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Tamisha Torres-Walker regarding sideshows or rideout”. After further discussion, the City and was agreed that the scope of the request was to be limited to the time period of June 8, 2021 through June 22, 2021.

This letter is in response to your emails dated July 13, 2021 and July 14, 2021.  Attached please find a 10-page document responsive to the CPRA requests that the City has determined is disclosable. Please be advised that other identifiable records are exempt from disclosure because they either involve confidential communications that include the City Attorney and/or they involve confidential communications done at the direction of the City Attorney to accomplish the purpose for which the City Attorney was consulted and are exempt from disclosure.

Thomas Lloyd Smith

City Attorney”

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