On Tuesday, the Antioch Police Oversight Committee, comprised of the Antioch City Council, approved a policy banning restraints, holds, tactics and maneuvers that pose a substantial risk of positional asphyxia.
The approval came via a 5-0 vote in which Committee Chair Tamisha Torres-Walker called it “good” and “reasonable” policy that was common sense–the council is basically making a recommendation to themselves through this committee.
With the recommendation to approve, the item will now be sent to the Antioch Police Officers Association (APOA) for review. It will then come back to the committee to discuss those changes before going to the public for input.
Final approval would then come from the city council at a date not yet to be determined.
On Tuesday, Acting Police Chief Tony Morefield read to the council the proposed policy which he stated was an expedited process understanding that there was a public request that this be done quickly.
“The original proposed policy that we started with looks substantially different than this. This is something that came through a process of back and forth emails between the working group to arrive here,” explained Morefield.
Councilmember Mike Barbanica stated he wanted the language cleaned up based on the effects this will have on prone handcuffing in high-risk situations.
Morefield explained that the language in the proposed policy would “complicate” many interactions on the ground while noting anytime they add more restrictions it adds more “challenges” for officers in their duties—noting the APOA had not reviewed the policy.
“In listening to you read the policy, it struck me that prone handcuffing is going to be an issue, or potentially be an issue. Prone handcuffing could be an issue in the future if the policy stays as is,” said Barbanica who urged the APOA meet and confer. “I would personally like to see the language cleaned up around prone handcuffing to make sure we are very clean when it can be used and when it can’t be used and keeping officers safety in mind.”
City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith said they would be meeting with the APOA before it returns back to the city council for final approval.
According to Morefield, the policy was created through Lexipol and scanning policies across the country to come up with the best policy they could create given the time constraints while also taking into account the Antioch Police Department needs and best practices—this includes public safety, officer safety, best practices, law and liability.
After public comments, the committee began discussion.
Chair Tamisha Torres-Walker called the draft policy a good policy.
“I will say that given this process have never existed in the City of Antioch before, this is a good policy, this is a reasonable policy. This is a common sense policy and it was a collaboration,” stated Torres-Walker who urged the public to look at the Use of Force Policy. “I am pretty impressed with how far we have been able to come with this particular policy.”
Mayor Lamar Thorpe said since the Chair was comfortable with the policy, he was fine with recommendation to move it forward to council – but not without meet and confer with APOA.
Barbanica said they all agreed that a policy was needed, however, he advised the committee to slow down as this seemed rushed while urging language cleanup.
“Are we really meeting and conferring or just satisfying the rule? I appreciate, again, the work that was done but I just think we need some language cleanup,” said Barbanica.
Smith said he would bring multiple versions (including red lined) to the council to review.
The committee (the city council) then voted 5-0.