Home Antioch Editorial: City Hall Needs to Remove the Muzzle from the Antioch Police Department

Editorial: City Hall Needs to Remove the Muzzle from the Antioch Police Department

by ECT

In a state where we are seeing crime spikes in San Francisco, Oakland, Fresno and around the state, the Antioch Police Department has been rather quiet since the new City Council was sworn in.

In fact, since December 8, 2020, when the new council was sworn in, Antioch Police have issued a whopping four press releases regarding crime in the city.  Facebook on the other hand, just three posts regarding crime—thankfully they are still semi-posting community engagement style posts.

You can look at the crime logs, crime has not stopped.

Many times, requests for information on shootings, stabbings and other incidents have fallen on deaf ears or the media access line has gone ignored. This is not appropriate nor is it right for the community to not know what is going on within their city.

The question is why?

I have an answer, but sadly, through the grapevine, I’ve been told by several people who wish to remain anonymous, the order to limit information about criminal activity came from City Hall. This has been confirmed, but no one willing to go on the record—at this point, the community deserves to know what is going on which is why this is an editorial and not a news story.

I attempted to speak to Chief Tammany Brooks about why the sudden muzzle on police activity, only to be stone walled with no response. Again, I believe this came from city hall and jobs of the City Manager Ron Bernal and Chief Brooks are at risk.

Ironically, the communities of City of Brentwood, City of Oakley and City of Pittsburg have all seen crime in their city posted by police along with arrests. Police departments have been transparent about shootings, burglaries and other happenings while highlighting fabulous work being done by officers to solve crime.

A special shout out to Pittsburg Police who have had three shootings in the past week—they were quick to put out info and have even stated they would release body camera footage as soon as they could.

Bottom line, these three communities know these police departments are working hard. Antioch is intentionally hearing crickets via a baloney of a directive.

In Antioch, because of a directive from city hall, the community has not been given the same respect of transparency and have suppressed the police department from providing real information.  Look no further than the Officer Mellone case.

The Mellone findings should have been released to the community and it should never have needed a public records request to produce the findings—again, it came from City Hall who just so happened to leak the same report to members of the community to push an anti-police rhetoric since some didn’t get the findings they desired.

A side note here, its sad that as quickly as the TV media were to pick up the story by community activists calling for Mellone’s resignation or firing, the city has done a poor job in highlighting the findings to correct all the anti-Antioch police department stories they ran. Why hasn’t TV media done a followup?

And why hasn’t the city provided the cost of the investigation which I’ve asked for on several occasions?

I would encourage residents of Antioch to begin to challenge city hall, its mayor and members of the city council to remove this muzzle and begin releasing information again to the public to showcase the hard work of the police officers and the crime they are both stopping and preventing. Or, could provide much needed eyes and ears to help solve crime.

It is rather ironic that at a time when the council is pushing a Bridging the Gap series, stacking the deck of anti-police rhetoric and pushing for a predetermined outcome that is not the will of most of the public, this muzzle comes at a time when the community could thank their police department, show support, and provide feedback on social media—but again, that does not fit the agenda of some on the council.

And before the anti-police attack dogs are unleashed, yes, I agree some police reform and policy should change while body cameras should be implemented, but remember that Mayor Lamar Thorpe and councilwoman Monica Wilson each have had multiple opportunities to implement body cameras as requested by Chief Brooks, only to be declined twice. Former police Chief Allan Cantando also requested body cameras be implement, only to be turned down by that city council which included Wilson at the time.

When the body camera issue comes up again in the near future, remember, Thorpe and Wilson each declined the tool multiple times in the past but will likely seek credit for it during a movement all in the name of “police reform”.  This will be rather comical and hypocritical. And by the way, police should also have cameras and audio on tasers as well.

I would encourage the Antioch Police Department to begin to ignore any erroneous directive from city hall and go back to releasing much needed information to the public.

I firmly believe you build a city up by highlighting the work of the police department, promoting safety, community engagement and transparency.  Not muzzling it and operating in a silo while pushing out dangerous rhetoric as designed by the Mayor.

Crime is still happening and the community needs to be aware of it.

Mike Burkholder

Mike Burkholder
Publisher of ECT
[email protected]


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Your Mother Feb 5, 2021 - 11:35 am

For the record, demanding that our police officers be held to a higher standard than the rest of the populace doesn’t make one anti-cop; nor does being outraged by police officers shooting unarmed people on camera and in broad daylight. So before you start blaming the citizens of Antioch for creating this supposed stone wall of silence in terms of crime reporting, maybe it would be wise to also acknowledge that a lot of this cultural warfare has been stoked not just by politicians but also by the police who choose to abuse their power. I am not anti-cop or anti-authority, but I am against scapegoating the city’s issues simply because the people demanded transparency of the killing of an unarmed homeless man. We can be pro-cop and still call out the bad ones.

Louis Olsen Feb 5, 2021 - 12:12 pm

Well said.

Plague infestation Feb 5, 2021 - 1:11 pm

Antioch has become a plague infested shit hole and the current city council will do nothing but make it worse. Barbanica cannot make change on his own. The rest aren’t worth a shit. The illiterate mayor and the ghetto tramp with the prison bound kids are great examples of all that is wrong in the city and east county overall. Until the silent majority of citizens raise up the erosion will continue. All the new construction brought affordable housing and the plague has continue to spread. Its probably a lost cause.

Arne Feb 5, 2021 - 2:01 pm

If I had t guess, Chief Brooks and the Department would like to get that information out in a timely manner.

Sounds like it is time for a Public Records Act Request for any communication (email, hardcopy, cell phone, fax or text using the keywords to get the information you want between the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, City Attorney and Chief Brooks or any of the Department’s Captains.

LoveableCurmudgeon Feb 5, 2021 - 2:27 pm

Chief Brooks appears to be an honorable man, and a good chief. The city should be happy and honored to have him in charge of APD. Yet, because the findings of the recent investigation didn’t fit the agenda of those who want to diminish, or defund, the police, it looks like he’s going to be made the sacrificial lamb for the anti-police faction running our city. By denying the chief’s request for body cams the city is setting him up for a comeuppance and it just isn’t right to put him through this. What the city needs are more people like Chief Brooks and fewer know nothings who don’t have a clue about policing but sure want to tell the professionals how to do the job.

Jimmy Feb 5, 2021 - 2:41 pm

This is what Antioch gets when voting Lamar Thorpe, Monica Wilson, Tamisha Walker. You get anti-police policy and anti-police behavior. This type of underhanded behind closed doors demand is what should be expected. It’s up to the community to hold this city council accountable. Shame on them. Give us the info.

Antioch Feb 5, 2021 - 7:22 pm

If you post anything patriotic or complimentary on thorps social media he just removes it. The police are working hard to just keep up against this rise of violence the Bay Area. Toemisha is still on the council when Ken T. Was removed from a board for viable argument regarding the pandemic. To quote Thorpe “words matter” and toemishas were disgusting “or however you say it” to use her words. Anyway, Antioch is the most disgusting city besides Oakland in all California. Opportunity lives here.

Antioch Feb 5, 2021 - 7:25 pm

Well said- loveable

Nick Pallas Feb 5, 2021 - 9:30 pm

Your Mother and Olsen are both part of the problem with Antioch! Chief Brooks is the best part of Antioch.

Melissa Taylor Feb 6, 2021 - 1:15 am

What in hell has happened to this once fine city where the residents were staunchly pro-police and crime was almost non-existent! Then, out of nowhere, troublemakers and scumbags started moving in here —— and they still do — and the whole place went to hell in a hand basket. We have to reclaim our city. Run the vermin out of town and that includes the three jokers on the city council – – the idiot mayor and the two ghetto queens. Why is the sewer-mouthed arsonist still here? Looks like there’s another arsonist in town as described in the “Antioch News” section of the East Bay Times (2/5/21) edition.

Ben Smith Feb 6, 2021 - 7:59 am

chief brooks has been an amazing police chief and deserves the respect of the community. Its a shame the council is pandering to the community crazies and wasting so much time fighting our police department. What is interesting is the day this post goes up, APD suddenly has multiple posts on Facebook. Good job ECT.

Steve B Feb 6, 2021 - 6:11 pm

Antioch PD is top notch, and so is Chief Brooks. Please support them whenever possible. Once you lose it, it is very hard to get that back.

Coastrider711 Feb 8, 2021 - 4:41 am

Well just read the “ghetto queen”comments. But when identifying the meth smoking,oxy dopers and all the crime…ssshhh,white people don’t commit crimes in Antioch. Hiring that white killer wasn’t a problem as it never is in a country where all your problems are blamed on one group. 85% of welfare money spent on white people, but keep lying. Told the first lie in 1492. Been lying and faking since then. THIS. is Amerikkka.

Coastrider711 Feb 8, 2021 - 4:56 am

Yup, this is whiteAntioch. Post the welfare queen comments and denigrating comments about black Americans,but my post about 85% welfare money being spent on white people is not “community friendly”. Keep posting your racist comments and blaming all your troubles on black Americans. This place is a shit hole(previous posted comment)but it’s not the black folks. You have a white doper issue here. When you don’t post this, I’ll just put it on the antioch fb page. Move..we would love it. Less rednecks

Coastrider711 Feb 8, 2021 - 5:07 am

I see you don’t post CERTAIN folks comments…like welfare money is 85% spent on white people. I’ll just email my comments to you. Keep blaming black Americans for all the problems. Hiring the killer mop is fine,though. Y’all should be really “proud boys”

Robert C. Feb 9, 2021 - 5:16 pm

Wake up, Coastrider. ECT’s system does not immediately post anyone’s comments. They are held in a queue until they are reviewed for compliance with the site’s posting policies.

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