Antioch in need of significant and immediate police reform with true community oversight
Over the past month, we have lost two lives while in custody of our police department.
My heart and prayers goes to the impacted families of our recent tragedies, and I ask our community to demonstrate peace and solidarity for one another. The recent tragedies and loss of life in our community are unacceptable.
I want you to know that I feel the pain our community feels right now and I too am in many emotions. With that in mind, I also aim to lead with compassion and ensure that justice and change are coming.
Life is precious and we matter in Antioch.
As the newly elected City Council-member for the Antioch City Council, I will wield this position to hold the council accountable.
Working with law enforcement agencies across Contra Costa, I know first-hand how difficult but necessary it is to undo the practices and culture that allow for police brutality.
Residents have been calling for change and true community oversight of the police department for years. However, at a meeting in 2017, the City Council informally decided to not purchase body cameras for police officers and stated that the priority was to hire more police officers for patrol.
At the time, outfitting 105 officers with cameras would cost roughly $107,000.
Chief Brooks’ total pay and benefits in 2017 totaled $430,928.10. A police officer’s salary in Antioch at the time with regular pay would be between $100,000 and $127,000, with most being around $113,000 (including total pay and benefits, this amounts to $250,000 for one officer).
Four years later, there are still no body cameras on officers.
There is no integration between mental health services and crisis management.
There is no citizens’ oversight committee.
The entire past year, Antioch community members have been protesting against Antioch’s police department’s excessive use of force.
Many have been assaulted, harassed and have had their lives threatened.
Our Bridging the Gap discussions, meant to foster public participation, are severely limited by the attendance cap and the public has been given insufficient time to voice their concerns. As a community organizer, this is unacceptable in terms of public participation and inclusion.
We need change to the police department as well as a true citizens’ oversight committee.
I know in my years of transforming law enforcement, it is not easy. It does begin with accountability. I want residents to know that you have my commitment to uncovering and remedying the conditions at the department that have led to a culture of excessive use of force, where our own community members' lives have been lost and many others have been harmed.
Residents of Antioch deserve this change and deserve it now.
Tamisha Torres-Walker – Antioch Council-member District 1, 510-493-3875, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ratha Lai – Public Relations Liaison, 510-313-3144,