30 Mar ‘Several’ More Antioch Police Officers Put on Leave This Week During Another Investigation
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, at lectern, said many police officers have been put on leave. Here, he speaks at the construction site of the Antioch Brackish Desalination Project at the Antioch Water Treatment Plant with Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 11, 2022. (Ray Saint Germain / Bay City News)
By Tony Hicks
Bay City News
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said at a press conference Thursday that “several” police officers have been placed on administrative leave due to policy violations possibly exposed during a city investigation.
Thorpe indicated the investigation is internal, unlike a current FBI/Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office probe, during which eight officers were suspended (one of whom has since resigned), for alleged civil rights violations and other possible crimes.
Thorpe also wouldn’t specify how many officers have been put on leave and said the possible policy violations likely weren’t being investigated as crimes.
“We have every intention of respecting confidentiality in the process,” Thorpe said. “That being said, we’re also not going to sweep these matters under the rug as we’ve done in the past.”
Thorpe, who wasn’t accompanied by Police Chief Steven Ford, said the situation will likely make Antioch police shorthanded, something that may require the city to look to outside agencies for help. That would cost the city financially, as would additional independent investigations.
“To say that I am outraged is an understatement as it relates to this matter,” Thorpe said.
The mayor wouldn’t say if any of the officers suspended this week are being investigated in the bigger probe, which started more than a year ago, and also did not comment on what actions caused the new round of suspensions, including answering questions about alleged inappropriate text messages.
Thorpe said he hasn’t been briefed by Ford about the matter yet, which he may call for in a public setting.
“If I’m not briefed, I plan — soon — I will be calling a special meeting of the Antioch City Council, where the chief will be our special guest to answer all these questions specifically how we’re going to maintain police service levels,” Thorpe said.
Antioch police spokesperson Officer Ashley Crandell said Ford didn’t have any comment Thursday afternoon.
Thorpe said he wasn’t sure about current police staffing levels. At least eight of the city’s then-57 police officers were under investigation last year for what the District Attorney’s Office said was related to “crimes of moral turpitude” involving Antioch and Pittsburg police officers.
The Pittsburg Police Department has said on social media that the investigation “involves several local police officers, including three current Pittsburg police officers.”
Thorpe said the city has had success recruiting new officer candidates the past year and getting them trained. He didn’t say when they might be ready to join the department, though the City Council may have to authorize more officers to attract more.
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