Joined by representatives of Chinese and Asian American organizations in Bay Area, State Controller Yee; APAPA donates $10,000 for exhibit at Antioch Historical Society museum
“It took 145 years to come to this day, to come to this reconciliation.” – Betty Yee, California State Controller
By Allen Payton
During a ceremony in what was once the location of Antioch’s Chinatown, Wednesday morning, June 17, 2021, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and council members signed the resolution they adopted in May, apologizing for the city’s residents for their racism against Chinese immigrants in the late 1800’s. That included the burning down of the city’s Chinatown in 1876.
During the May 18, 2021 meeting, the council voted 5-0 to pass the resolution entitled “Resolution of the city council of the City of Antioch apologizing to early Chinese immigrants and their descendants for acts of fundamental injustice, seeking forgiveness and committing to rectification of past misdeeds.” (See related articles here and here)
The council members were joined by representatives of Bay Area Chinese and Asian American organizations, as well as State Controller Betty Yee who participated by Zoom. The signed resolutions were presented to each.
Yee was the keynote speaker, noting the fact that her parents are from the same Guangdong Province in China as were many of Antioch’s Chinese residents of the 1800’s.
Thorpe welcomed those in attendance “to the new Antioch, where opportunity lives for all of the world’s people, cultures, and more.”
“I know for some cultures and ethnic groups Antioch hasn’t always been a place of opportunity, hasn’t always been a place of open arms, and hasn’t always been a place of acceptance. And, we still fight through some of those issues today,” he continued. “But as we mature as a city, we gain perspective, build understanding, and, most importantly, increase our capacity to seek forgiveness.”
“Today, we ceremoniously begin that process of reconciliation with our early Chinese American residents, their descendants, and the larger AAPI community for our past misdeeds that helped build a culture in our country that led to the rise in hate crimes stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic,” Thorpe stated. “Like the ending of the pandemic, today, we, the City of Antioch, take our dose of humility by acknowledging our troubled past and seeking forgiveness.”
“I recognize there are many groups in our community who are just as deserving of an apology from their local, state and national government. I know, I am a member of such groups,” the mayor shared. “However, given the national awakening that has spun out of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate, it’s critically important that we do this, now.”
Contra Costa Community College District Board President Andy Li, the first Asian American elected to the board, spoke next, thanking the mayor and council for their action “to make Antioch the first to apologize to early Chinese immigrants. Today is an historic day…for the resolution to be signed. I hope our ancestors in heaven can now rest in peace.”
“It sends a very clear message to the people of the United States that this is a country for all,” he continued. “145 years have passed, and the lives of Chinese Americans have improved. But today…we are told to go back to our country. Let’s be clear. This is my country.”
Li then cited the pledge of allegiance.
Edward Tepporn of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation said, “what happened in Antioch happened in other cities across the country.”
He spoke of how Chinese immigrants were treated differently than other immigrants, with many having to strip naked and answer hundreds of questions.
“Today, we add Mayor Lamar Thorpe and the City of Antioch to the list of those shining bright and standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity,” Tepporn added.
Thorpe, who was joined by Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica, then said, “I thought I would have the other council members who voted for the resolution sign it.”
He shared that District 3 Councilwoman “Lori Ogorchock couldn’t be here. Her grandson is visiting so, her time is tied up.”
“We have made commitments to fund the Antioch Historical Society and to designate this area as Antioch’ historic Chinatown,” Thorpe shared, speaking of Waldie Plaza in the city’s historic Rivertown District, where the ceremony was held.
Thorpe Reads Resolution, Representative Bows
As Thorpe read the resolution, Douglas Hsia of the Locke Foundation in the California Delta bowed his head in a sign of reverence and respect.
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANTIOCH APOLOGIZING TO EARLY CHINESE IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS FOR ACTS OF FUNDAMENTIAL INJUSTICE, SEEKING FORGIVENESS AND COMMITTING TO RECTIFICATION OF PAST MISDEEDS
WHEREAS, on January 24, 1848, gold was discovered in Alta California, Mex(ico) and by 1849, people were coming to the region from all over the world to look for gold;
WHEREAS, the Gold Rush caused a huge increase in the population by migrants from the eastern United States and other parts of the world including China;
WHEREAS, between 1849 and 1853 about 24,000 young Chinese men immigrated to Alta California, Mex(ico) (which in 1850 became the United States, State of California) and by 1870 there were an estimated 63,000 Chinese in the United States, 77% of whom resided in California;
WHEREAS, many Chinese immigrants were met with racism, scapegoating and anti-Chinese sentiment also known as xenophobia, which was at its highest between 1850 and 1870;
WHEREAS, Antioch in its early years was not exempt from xenophobia;
WHEREAS, this period in Antioch’s history, like in most of America, is now known as the “The Driving Out” with forced removals of Chinese immigrants;
WHEREAS, during “The Driving Out” period, Antioch officially became a “Sundown Town” when it banned Chinese residents from walking city streets after sunset;
WHEREAS, in order to get from their jobs to their homes each evening, these Chinese residents built a series of tunnels connecting the business district to where I Street met the waterfront;
WHEREAS, in 1876 Chinese residents were told by white mobs that they had until 3 p.m. to leave Antioch— no exceptions;
WHEREAS, after Chinese residents were forced out, Chinatown was burned to the ground and Antioch made headline news: “The Caucasian torch,” wrote the Sacramento Bee, “lighted the way of the heathen out of the wilderness,” and “The actions of the citizens of this place will, without doubt, meet with the hearty approval of every man, woman and child on the Pacific coast” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle;
WHEREAS, Antioch’s early period helped negatively contribute to the Nation’s xenophobic discourse, which led to legal discrimination in public policy with the establishment of the Chinese Exclusion Act;
WHEREAS, the system of “The Driving Out” and the visceral racism against persons of Chinese descent upon which it depended became entrenched in the City’s, the State’s and the Nation’s social fabric;
WHEREAS, the story of Chinese immigrants and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should not be purged from or minimized in the telling of Antioch’s history;
WHEREAS, the City of Antioch must acknowledge that the legacy of early Chinese immigrants and Xenophobia are part of our collective consciousness that helps contribute to the current anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate;
WHEREAS, a genuine apology and seeking forgiveness are an important and necessary first step in the process of racial reconciliation;
WHEREAS, an apology for dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but admission of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help confront the ghosts of the City’s past;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Antioch:
1) Apologizes to all early Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to Antioch and were unwelcome;
2) Seeks forgiveness for acts of fundamental injustice, terror, cruelty, and brutality; and
3) Expresses its commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against early Chinese immigrant under, before and during “The Driving Out.”
* * * * * * * * *
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing resolution was passed and adopted by the City Council of the City of Antioch at a special meeting thereof, held on the 18th day of May, 2021 by the following vote:
Council Members Sign Copies of Resolution
The mayor and council members then signed eight copies of the resolution which were presented to representatives of each of the organizations in attendance, including Tepporn, Hsia, Justin Hoover, Executive Director of the Chinese Historical Society of America, C.C. and Regina Yin, and Joel Wong of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), as well as Hans Ho and Linda Walgren of the Antioch Historical Society.
“I just want to say how important it is to have solidarity with other groups…to be with this amazing event today to honor those who were wronged,” Hoover shared. He then thanked the mayor and council for the resolution.
Walgren, Secretary of the Board of Directors on behalf of president Dwayne Eubanks spoke next saying, We are interested in all the people’s history in Antioch.”
“I want to thank the mayor and city council for an extremely brave act in signing this proclamation” Ho said as he got choked up and had tears come to his eyes.” It is an uncomfortable part of our history.”
Hsia said he was glad to be part of the ceremony and thought it appropriate his organization was represented since “San Francisco marked the beginning and Locke marks the beginning of the end of the Chinese immigration.”
“I thank Mayor Thorpe,” Hsia continued.” His actions today, have made America better for everyone.”
Yee offered her keynote address for the ceremony saying, “This is such an important, historic day. It is a personally meaningful day for me. I have to harken back to some of the sentiments of the day…which was the anti-Asian sentiment. We are standing locked arm in arm fighting this virus of hate.”
“Today, we’re recognizing the stains of Antioch…and look at how we are going to model reconciliation…so our community can heal from all the dark chapters of the Chinese American experience,” she continued. “The Asian hate, today, has its roots in what happened, here in Antioch.”
“I want to thank the City of Antioch for not just making this a one-day occasion…but that we will be reminded of it in our museums. It’s only through understanding that we truly understand our place in time, today,” Yee stated. “It took 145 years to come to this day, to come to this reconciliation. The number of the resolution, 88 is a very important number in Chinese culture…of good fortune.”
“This is a day of celebration, but a day to remember our work is not done,” she said. “It is so significant when it happens in cities like Antioch. It’s so easy to sweep it under the rug. We know this is a hopeful day of a new chapter of relations.”
“I’m so thankful to be part of this historic day,” said Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event.
APAPA founder C.C. Yin said, “this is a very important historic moment. The first time in California history for a city to stand up.”
He presented the mayor and council members with APAPA logo shirts as gifts, as well as McDonald’s logo hats from he and his wife’s franchise.
He shared that “Regina Yin is donating $10,000 from the APAPA foundation to the City of Antioch.”
“Andy told us to do that,” she said with a smile.
Build a better city like Antioch, a better state, a better America.
“I was very moved by the mayor’s comments,” Regina Yin stated. “This country gave C.C. and me the opportunity to open a McDonald’s franchise. I have had the opportunity to open a business and to give back.”
She thanked the mayor for “A sincere apology.”
“Sixty years ago I came as an immigrant,” C.C. Yin stated. “This is our country. We love it. We have fulfilled our dreams ten times. The past is learning for tomorrow. We have double responsibility to build a better country, a better government. Antioch…this is what I call American spirit.”
Street Renaming and Reparations
Asked about the idea of renaming First Street to Chinatown Way, as proposed by a Rivertown business owner, Thorpe said he was not familiar with that but the council would consider it.
Asked about reparations for the descendants of the property owners who were burned out, and if there had been any research done on that, yet, he said “we are working with City Manager Ron Bernal and the historical society in the process of securing a consultant.”Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Custody Services Bureau has acquired the Tek84 Intercept Full Body Scanner. The Intercept will be used at intake at the Martinez Detention Facility as arrestees are processed and booked into the facility.
According to Tek84, the Intercept “detects both metallic and nonmetallic threats, including weapons, drugs, cell phones and other contraband. Screens from below the feet to above the head reveal items under the clothing and within the body.” In addition, the Intercept allows staff to maintain a distance of 6 feet of social distancing space between them and arrestees while conducting contraband searches.
“This technology is about safety and security and is one of many steps we are taking to improve our facilities,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “This is a win-win. It will help prevent contraband from entering our jails, thus making it safer for inmates and staff.”
Funding for the Intercept, which cost $152,000, comes from federal funds (CARES ACT).
City’s Re-imagining Public Safety Community Task Force wants funds spent on other services and programs; Mayor Butt challenges participation by Antioch councilwoman, other out-of-town members; Police Officers Association claims original proposal would reduce police force by 32 officers, mount effort to oppose; on Tuesday night’s council meeting agenda for vote
By Allen Payton
The City of Richmond’s Re-imagining Public Safety Community Task Force is recommending reallocating $10 million from the police department’s budget and using it on other emergency response, prevention and homeless programs, instead.
In a Friday morning post on his Facebook page, KPFA radio personality and task force member, Andres Soto wrote, “The Re-imaging [sic] Public Safety Task Force of Richmond, California has come out with an analysis and proposal to reallocate more than $10.28 million from the Richmond Police Department and to invest those funds into a variety of emergency response and prevention programs.
This proposal has been met by fierce opposition from the Police Chief Bisa French, the Richmond Police Officers Association and conservative elements in Richmond, most notably groups of primarily older folks in the various Neighborhood Councils.
The Task Force has taken this input and revised some of the amounts as the Richmond City Council is set to adopt its annual budget. We will speak once again with Marisol Cantu, one of the leaders of the Re-imaging Public Safety Task Force about the process they have engaged in and the recent revisions to their recommendations.”
However, the latest recommendations, with Soto supported, is for reallocating $6.3 million from the police budget.
Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker also serves on the task force, having been appointed along with Soto and others, last October 6, prior to her election to the city council. According to the task force’s June 9th meeting, Torres-Walker participated as a member.
Staff Liaison Johann Fragd was asked why Richmond would allow a non-resident, who does not have a business or organization based in their city, to serve on one of their city’s task forces and if it’s appropriate, especially a council member from another city. She responded, “According to my records, Tamisha Walker remains an active member of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. According to the original direction of the Richmond City Council the Task Force will be ‘composed by members of the public, including community organizations, individuals who were impacted by law enforcement, and law enforcement.’ We have several members and persons from the Interdepartmental Team, who are not Richmond residents.”
Asked why she, as an Antioch resident and council member can or should serve on another city’s task force and if her non-profit organization, Safe Return Project, is based there, since the location is not provided on either their website or Facebook page. Torres-Walker was also asked if her participation on another city’s task force is taking time and attention away from representing District 1 in Antioch which she was elected to serve. She was absent for the task force’s May 12th meeting, when they approved the recommendations to reallocate $10.2 million from the Richmond Police Department to other services and programs. She was asked if she supported those recommendations.
Finally, during the June 9th meeting, Torres-Walker attempted to get the motion to approve the recommendation to reduce the police department cuts to $6.3 million, “to go line item by line item for each vote,” but didn’t and said, “we can go forward with the vote.”
She then abstained on the vote that approved the recommendations on a slim majority of 11 votes out of the 21 members on the task force. Torres-Walker was asked why she voted that way and if it was because she supported some of the recommendations but not all of them.
The councilwoman did not respond prior to publication time.
Residency Challenged, Defended
Task force member Don Gosney, who claims to be “a truly hated and despised member for actually thinking that we need public safety officers” shared his concerns with the residency of Walker and Soto, and two others.
“Along with Ms. Walker and Mr. Soto, I see from my voter registration spreadsheet from August of 2020 that Luis Chacon is registered to vote in San Pablo,” Gosney wrote. “We also have Eddy Chacon on the task force (I believe he may be Luis’ brother…) and I cannot find him registered to vote in West County. Voter registration is not an entirely reliable tool to use to determine residency but it’s a starting point.”
“When Councilmember Nat Bates tried to ascertain the residency of the task force members, the pushback was fierce,” Gosney continued. “By the way, almost immediately after we were appointed, the City Clerk sent us all the 80-page handbook on committees and board. On Page 13 it reads:”
During the June 9th meeting, task force member Randy Joseph complained about Torres-Walker and Soto being “attacked by the mayor” and others for not being a Richmond resident.
“I wanted to bring up something that’s been bothering me over this last month that was going on in the City of Richmond, with people coming and attacking people on this task force for not living in Richmond and being part of Richmond,” he said. “I think that’s disgusting, especially with all the work and all the things that Tamisha Walker and Andrés Soto has put into this city and done for the city.”
“To be attacked by not only the mayor, but other community members that do not know half of the work that these two have done in the history of Richmond, is disgusting and it’s just flat out irritating,” Joseph continued. “It shows the divisive nature that people have made this up to be, to make this trite and just to generalize this process, to make this process illegitimate, to attack two people who have been Richmond community members and done so much for Richmond for so long.”
Member Marcus Njissang added echoed Joseph’s comments saying, “I just want to second what Randy just said. I don’t know what was said about Andrés but… What was said about Mrs. Walker…it made me kind of sick actually, some of the comments that were made by the mayor. Just dragging her through the mud. As a fellow task force member, I feel the same way. I thought it was despicable. That’s just my opinion. I thought that it was disgusting, and I just wanted to second what Randy was saying.”
“This is not the first time I’ve been attacked for this and other things,” said Soto. “When you stand up for the people, they always try to tear you down. But I don’t let that deter me.”
“Perhaps, not at this meeting, but if we ever want to consider a resolution condemning those kind of remarks, that’s something perhaps we can look at,” he continued. “But we have more work ahead of us right now that’s more important to worry about small little people like that.”
Task Force Recommendations
During the April 14th meeting, an overview of the Smart Budget & Resource Allocations “subgroup’s recommendation was provided by subgroup member A. Soto on a Richmond Police Department budget analysis and reallocation proposal. There is a recommendation to have a proposed amount of RPD funds roughly estimated at $10.2 million to be reallocated to other programs such as ONS, RichmondWORKS Summer Youth Program, SOS Street Teams, SOS Shower Power, and the SOS Transitional Village.”
According to their website, SOS! Richmond, which stands for Safe Organized Spaces, “improves encampment and neighborhood living conditions through direct service, engagement, advocacy, and collaborations.”
During the task force’s May 12th meeting, (see minutes) for which Torres-Walker, Soto and other members were absent, they voted to approve the following recommendations: reallocate $2.5 million to the Office of Neighborhood Services which pays gang members $1,000 a month to not commit violent crimes in Richmond; $1,930,150 for the Youth Works Proposal; $1,190,907 million on SOS Street Teams; $627,774 on the SOS Shower Power program; $1,585,658 on the SOS Transitional Village; and $2,455,600 on the Community Crisis Response Program for a total of $10,280,089 in reallocations from the police department budget.
The Richmond PD’s annual budget is currently $67.2 million. A $10.2 million cut would be over 15% and result in a reduction of 32 officers, according to the Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA).
Richmond Police Officers Respond
In a May 16th post on the RPOA Facebook page, it reads, “The Richmond City Council is proposing a cut to the Richmond Police Department’s budget, which would mean 32 less officers out protecting our community. We’ve seen what defunding the police would mean for the city – our police department is already understaffed, and crime has increased in cities like Vallejo and Oakland after similar cuts were made to their police forces. Richmond deserves better.
Please visit www.SaferRichmond.com to ask the City Councilmembers to keep us safe. Be sure to share this with your friends, family and neighbors to sign, too.”
On that website, it reads:
Tell the City Council to Vote No on Cutting the Richmond Police
The Richmond City Council is proposing a cut to the Richmond Police Department’s budget, which would mean 32 less officers out protecting our community. We’ve seen what defunding the police would mean for the city— our police department is already understaffed, and crime has increased in cities like Vallejo and Oakland after similar cuts were made to their police forces.
Richmond deserves better.
We understand the need for reform to provide the best levels and types of services to every Richmond resident. We also support additional funding for community services and intervention programs, but we have serious concerns about the current proposal to cut funding from the police department without a clear plan on how the city will make sure our friends, family and neighbors are not placed at increased risk.
We don’t need to defund our police. We need REAL reform with REAL solutions that protect the health and safety of us all.
The Richmond community and its police are working together to make Richmond safer. We need to come together now to keep it safe. Cutting 32 police officers makes no sense. There are other options to fund new services and keep our community police officers. The City Council needs to explore these options. The City Council must vote against defunding our Police Department’s budget until a more thorough plan has been proposed to make Richmond safer for everyone.
Please use this form to ask the City Councilmembers to keep us safe. Be sure to share this with your friends, family and neighbors to sign, too.
It offers a letter for residents to add their name and information which they can email through the website or print and mail it to the mayor and council members.
Subgroups Develop Recommendations in Secret
Gosney says he was not allowed to participate in any of the subgroups. “They wanted everyone to participate in two subgroups.” Everyone else was allowed to participate, “as far as I know.”
Asked why, he said, “anybody who disagrees with their positions is bullied into silence.”
“Half of the task force I think hates me,” Gosney shared. “The other half stay silent because they’re bullied into silence.”
“They were ad hoc subgroups, so they did not have to follow the Brown Act, did not have to give public notice and not have to take any public comment,” he explained. “The first time their recommendations were presented was at the task force meeting and the public had no opportunity to know what the recommendations were before the meeting.”
“The recommendations from one of the subgroups was rejected. They didn’t explain why,” Gosney shared. “That included training police on de-escalation techniques.”
Latest Recommendations Reduce Cuts to $6.3 million
“We’ve had multiple votes and made recommendations on a piecemeal basis,” Gosney explained. “In fact, they just took another vote the other night to reduce the recommended cuts down to about $6.3 million.”
That occurred at the task force’s June 9th meeting. Minutes of that meeting are not yet, available as of publication time. Torres-Walker. However, the video shows she voted to abstain on the recommendations.
“Our new, revised proposed allocation of monies has been reduced by almost $4 million. There would be no layoffs and no additional hiring” by the Richmond Police Department, said task force member Deborah Small. She explained that the recommendations are “to better reflect our values and priorities as a city…so that the fire department and police department don’t consume as much of the resources as they do.”
Member Marisol Cantu mentioned, “using American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds” and Soto clarified that “it’s a motion to amend the reallocation recommendation.”
The motion was adopted on a 11-2-4-3-1 with four members abstaining, three members absent and one not voting.
Members Helene Burks, Cantu, Luis Chacon, Randy Joseph, Kristin Killian-Lobos, Armond Lee, Laura Mangels, Marcus Njissang, Deborah Small, Soto, and BK Williams voted to adopt the recommendations. Members James Lee and Ben Therriault voted no, while Eddy Chacon, David Tucker, Torres-Walker and Whitmore voted to abstain. DeWanda Joseph, Joey Schlemmer and Nakari Syon were absent, and Gosney didn’t vote.
Mayor Butt Explains Residency Issue, Opposes Recommendations
Asked for his thoughts on non-residents serving on his city’s task force, Mayor Tom Butt said, “The way this went down was the city council established this task force. By our charter, the mayor has the authority to make the appointments to all boards and commissions. I proposed that each of the six council members and I get three appointments. They made their recommendations and I appointed them. That’s where the 21-person task force came from. Turns out two of them were from out of town.”
Soto lives in Benicia, the mayor shared.
Regarding the task force’s recommendations Butt said, “I’m dead set against it. This whole thing has been a huge mistake. I think the vast majority of Richmond residents do not want to reduce the police force and don’t want to defund the police. But right now, the council is made up of a majority of radical progressives. It started most recently with the George Floyd’s death.”
“Nationwide it’s kind of rebounded. There were a lot of cities that went in this direction but they’ve kind of pulled back,” he continued.
“We have a police review commission and they recently voted 5-1 opposing defunding the police. And the people on that police commission are pretty progressive, yet they voted against it,” Butt stated. “There have been some social media polls run on it and it’s about 70% against and 30% for. But this is what they were elected to do and they’re probably going to do it.”
“As far as Tamisha goes, what they jumped on me about, I brought up the fact that there are two out-of-towners on the task force and questioned why that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “Both Tamisha and Andres have a bone to pick with police. They’ve both have had run-ins with police with Tamisha even sharing, I think on her website, that she was arrested 22 times and did time for arson.”
“They pointed out that her vast experience with law enforcement make her imminently qualified to serve on the task force and she worked in Richmond in the past,” Butt shared. “They have a re-entry facility in Richmond, and she has experience working with that. I’m not saying I agree just that’s what they said as the reason.”
“Why the people of Antioch elected someone like that to represent them,” he continued. “Maybe she thinks she can get more done in Richmond than in Antioch.”
In an online discussion, entitled “E-FORUM: City Manager Recommends Defunding Police” Butt wrote, “The biggest mistake I made, in a moment of excessive collegiality, was to agree to let each City Council member choose three members of the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force. The Richmond Charter vests the mayor with the sole power to make appointments to boards and commissions, subject to Coty Council approval. I should have paid more attention to who my colleagues were appointing.
I had hoped my colleagues would select people who represent all Richmond residents for an objective and balanced task force, but instead we got an organization dominated by anti-police radicals, including two who don’t even live in Richmond. Apparently, City Council members could not find task force members radical enough in Richmond, so they looked elsewhere. Task Force members Andres Soto and Tamisha Walker live in Benicia and Antioch, respectively, and both continue to nurse grudges against police that stem from incidents decades ago.
Soto had an unfortunate run-in with Richmond police way back in the last millennium when Isiah Turner was city manager and Joseph Samuels was police chief. that incident still defines his world view of law enforcement. Since then, the RPD world changed dramatically with Chief Chris Magnus, community policing and a precipitous drop in homicides, but Soto has never forgotten his alleged mistreatment by police, all of whom are now long gone.
Tamisha Walker lives in Antioch where she serves on the City Council, and works in Pittsburg. In her campaign pitch, Walker stated that she “… lives in District 1 and wants to make Antioch a home for her family for generations to come.” (https://www.tamishaforantioch.com/). Walker continues to nurse a grudge that dates back over a decade when, by her own account, she was arrested 22 times and jailed for committing arson. More recently, she had another run-in with Antioch police, shown in a “tearful, profanity-laced video shortly after police stopped her 23-year-old and 13-year-old sons on Dec. 29 for riding off-road vehicles on city streets. She accused the officers of overreacting and trying to run over her 13-year-old son and later handcuffing him after her older son escaped.” (https://youtu.be/pph35cdcPFI)”
Council Discussion June 15th
The Richmond City Council will make their decision on the task force’s recommendations as part of their budget hearings during the June 15th meeting. The city manager is recommending cutting $2.3 million from the police budget.
According to the mayor, the Agenda Report for item H-1 on the June 15, City Council meeting provides the City Council six options for addressing the recommendations of the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force, all but one of which, Option F, defunds police by amounts ranging from $2.3 million to $10.28 million.
Option F is the best choice, but with funding coming from ARPA instead of $1.7M from “the elimination of the budgeted use for facilities improvements and $1.6M from budgeted expenditures for vehicles.”
The funding options provided by the city manager for the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force recommendations in Item H-1 are as follows:
- Option A: Total year-1 funding would be $5.58M with $2.3M coming from reductions in the Police Department budget. This is staff’s recommended option and would enable the City to methodically design and implement the various programs proposed by the Task Force. This preferred approach would enable staff to comply with all applicable rules, while ensuring that the programs were effective and responsive to the needs of the community and ensure there are no gaps in services while implementation actions are undertaken.
- Option B: Total year-1 funding would be $10.28M and would be derived exclusively from permanent reductions in the Police Department budget.
- Option C: Total year-1 funding would be $10.28M but would be funded from a variety of sources including $3M from reductions in the Police Department budget.
- Option D: Total year-1 funding would be $5.58M with sustainable sources of funding including $3M from permanent reductions the Police Department budget.
- Option E: Total year-1 funding would be $6.38M funded from a variety of sources including $3M from permanent reductions the Police Department budget.
- Option F: Total year-1 funding would be $6.38M funded from a variety of sources, but with no monies coming from reductions in the Police Department budget. The following is a more detailed analysis of the various options with brief descriptions of the differences between the impacts of each option.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance is continuing to advocate defunding the police, creating a false narrative that defunding unfilled positions and requiring no layoffs is not really defunding. The police chief has already outlined the reduction in future services that can be expected from defunding nine vacant positions. The following was based on twelve positions, but nine would have similar consequences:
- Ability to shift resources quickly will be (and has been) hampered. Why? Our focus has been on providing basic patrol and investigative needs. Patrol staffing has been our primary focus due to the fact that community needs begin with a patrol response. Adequately staffing the patrol teams absorbs the bulk of our personnel resources. Patrol officers are assigned to fixed schedules. Therefore, when emerging needs arise (e.g.: recent gang-related violence), addressing those needs falls onto the one remaining team who are able to re-focus their efforts at a moment’s notice (e.g.: CVRT). This team has been depleted and currently consists of only one supervisor and 4 detectives. This staffing does not allow for 7 day a week coverage, therefore, we have to utilize officers on overtime to be able to cover additional hours when we experience spikes in crimes. In past years, we had two street teams that maintained seven day per week coverage, and were able to be re-shifted to such crime trends and district/beat/neighborhood needs. These are the types of resources that have been lost as our sworn staffing levels have been reduced over the past few years. One additional constraint of being able to quickly move resources involves the MOU. We cannot, absent an emergency situation, change an officer’s shift without adequate notice (60 days).
- Ability to focus on long-term investigations will be (and has been) hampered. Why? Our current investigative staff is about half of what they used to be. Our current staffing allows for very minimal time in addressing cold-cases. Our homicide team is currently stretched thin just to be able to handle the workload. Focusing on older cases is a service we cannot provide with the current resources. Additionally, we used to have detectives focused on crimes such as identity theft/computer crimes. In most cases, these investigations are very labor and time-intensive. With our current staffing, these crimes (unless there are strong leads) cannot be given the attention they are due. Our domestic violence and sexual assault cases have not diminished in numbers but the number of detectives assigned to those cases has diminished. These are multi-disciplinary investigations, in many cases, that require a significant amount of time and resources from our investigative staff. Robberies continue to plague the Richmond community, yet we only have enough detectives to primarily handle in-custody robbery cases, leaving very little time to investigate cases with existing leads. Our intelligence unit cannot properly focus on gathering intelligence at this time due to the need to have them focused on combatting retaliatory shootings. In the past, we had detectives assigned specifically to this function in order to gain intelligence to thwart and deter future acts of violence and other criminal issues (potentially this could have included human trafficking, fireworks and side-show activity). Moreover, our ability to focus on human trafficking has been diminished due to the fact that the detective focused on these efforts is also relied upon by the DSVU team to assist in their cases. To add to this, even when human trafficking operations are conducted, the resources are taken from existing detective resources and require overtime officers to provide the needed enforcement teams to safely execute such operations.
- Ability to focus on “Quality of Life” issues will be (and has been) hampered. Our previous staffing levels allowed for additional units to focus on quality of life issues. These issues include human trafficking/prostitution, drug house abatement, open air narcotic sales, homelessness issues, and other complaints that take time to resolve. As our staffing was reduced, we had no choice but to eliminate these additional units (BRAVO, Street Teams). This has left the beat officers responsible for dealing with the quality of life projects. However, the beat officers often do not have the time to devote to such projects. We have continually utilized overtime to deal with quality of life issues that require more time, effort and coordination to address. Additional staffing would allow for us to re-establish units to address these ongoing issues and cut down on overtime costs.
Although backed by the RPA and a few hardcore anti-police activists who also dominate the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force, the plan to further reduce the police force is wildly unpopular among Richmond residents.
- Nearly all the public speakers at the June 7 City Council meeting opposed cuts to the police budget.
- Several social media polls over the last several weeks have indicated overwhelming opposition to police budget reductions.
- Every neighborhood council that has weighed in on the issue opposes reduction of police services.
- The Community Police Review Commission opposes reduction of the police budget on 5-1 vote.
- Thousands of Richmond residents have emailed City Council members opposing defunding the police while only a few dozen recommend defunding.
With help of Contra Costa Sheriff, Richmond PD and K9 officer
By San Pablo Police Department
Officers in Action
Saturday evening, June 12, 2021 SPPD weekend dayshift officers spotted an occupied parked car without license plates. The driver was identified and admitted to having multiple ounces of marijuana in the car with him.
Officer Swaleh began searching the car and discovered a hidden compartment which was concealing a firearm. Knowing the firearm had been located the driver then fled on foot at which time officers gave chase. The suspect was seen jumping fences in the area. Contra Costa County Sheriffs Dept. and Richmond PD both assisted setting up a perimeter around the neighborhood, while CHP assisted with a helicopter to get a better view of where the suspect may be hiding.
Our new K9 Cap was put to work and tracked the suspect to a hidden location between the side of a house and a small shed. As K9 Cap was closing in on the suspect, he surrendered. There was no use of force needed and the suspect was taken into custody. The firearm was later found to be loaded and stolen out of Oakland.
We are thankful everyone is safe and no one was injured!Read More
After removing ankle monitor being worn for attempted robbery case
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the Contra Costa County District Attorney
Last month, defendant Brandon Hilliard of Pittsburg (date of birth is October 19, 1996) was found guilty by a Contra Costa County jury for the assault with a semiautomatic firearm and attempted manslaughter of a Pittsburg man – both charges are felonies. The shooting occurred earlier this year in Pittsburg. The jury also found true the enhancements listed in the charges against Hilliard, including use of a firearm and causing great bodily injury.
The defendant was on an ankle monitor for his pending attempted robbery case. Hilliard cut off his ankle monitor the day before this shooting.
On January 9, 2021, the victim and the defendant got into a verbal argument at Central Avenue and Birch Street in Pittsburg. As the argument progressed, the defendant pulled out his handgun, a Glock 43. Ultimately, the defendant fired at least four times at the victim. The victim was hit three times in his legs by Hilliard and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The shooting was captured on home surveillance and police officers used surrounding city surveillance cameras to locate a silver vehicle the defendant was seen driving away in from the scene of the shooting. The officers tracked the vehicle in Pittsburg and ascertained its license plate using the automated license plate reader system. The day after the shooting, a San Pablo police officer located the defendant and his vehicle, which had been listed as a felony vehicle, and successfully detained him.
The felony trial lasted four weeks before the honorable David Goldstein in Department 6 in Pittsburg. Judge Goldstein will sentence the defendant on July 23, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. The defendant will face up to 22 years and eight months in state prison. Deputy District Attorney Natasha Mehta prosecuted the case of behalf of the People. DDA Mehta is assigned to our felony trial team.
Case information: People v. Brandon Leo Hilliard, Docket Number 04-200980-1Read More
Following search with help of K9 officer
By San Pablo Police Department
Great Police work and Technology are a tough team to beat!
On Tuesday afternoon, June 8, 2021 one of our local restaurants was robbed at gunpoint. The employee had just returned from the bank when he was confronted by the suspect in front of the business. Thankfully, no one was injured, but the suspect fled with a bag of cash. Investigators believe the employee was followed from the bank.
Detectives were called in with Detective Almir Dugonjic leading the charge. Luckily in San Pablo we have Public Safety Cameras which helped Detectives to immediately identify the vehicle and suspect, 19-year-old Richmond resident, Tyrone Ratliff. Later that evening, at around 1:30 in the morning, officers were alerted by our Public Safety cameras that the robbery vehicle had returned to San Pablo. Officers stopped the car and detained the occupants, who were not involved in the crime. The vehicle was towed as evidence. But Ratliff was still on the loose.
When cases call for a high-priority apprehension, Detectives call upon a group of specially trained investigators: the Priority Oriented Policing (POP) Unit.
The POP unit was able to track Ratliff down in Richmond. He tried to elude officers, but thanks to Officer Kullar (and his K9 partner Sultan), and Officer Brown, Ratliff had no choice but to surrender peacefully to officers. He was arrested and booked into county jail on robbery charges. Detectives served search warrants at Ratliff’s home and recovered evidence linking him to the crime.
We are grateful no one was injured as a result of this crime. We are also grateful for the hard work and commitment of our Investigators and Patrol teams to bring this case to a close in less than 24-hours! Great Job!
We are still looking for the gun used in this crime. Anyone with information in this case is encouraged to contact the San Pablo Police Department at 510-215-3150. All callers can remain anonymous.
By Pittsburg Police Department
One call for service leads to much, much more.
Back in January, Officer Mejia made contact with a woman during an enforcement stop. At that time, she was in possession of multiple firearms and drugs for sale. Over the past few months, officers continued to work the case, conducting hours of investigation. It became clear the woman was heavily involved in the sale of drugs and guns.
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, the Pittsburg Police Department Vice Team, along with additional patrol officers, served the search warrant at the woman’s Oakley house. As you can see in the photos, officers found a little of everything including a half-pound of methamphetamines, cocaine, a ghost handgun, parts of an assault rifle, over $3,000 in cash, and even illegal fireworks.
In addition, officers searched a car belonging to man at the house and found two more illegal ghost guns and drugs for sale.
Both were arrested, the cash seized, and the two of them will be sending the weekend at the county jail.
#ppd #pittsburg #onecallatatime #alloffthestreet
By Richmond Police Department
On June 9, 2021 at approximately 12:25PM, RPD received a ShotSpotter activation in the 3000 block of Shane Drive. Shortly thereafter, the RPD Communications Center received multiple emergency calls regarding an individual who had been shot.
Arriving RPD officers located an unresponsive victim who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Despite life-saving measures, the victim was pronounced deceased by medical personnel, on scene.
More than forty (40) rifle and pistol casings were located at the scene; attached is an audio of the incident captured by the RPD ShotSpotter system.
If you witnessed, or believe you have further information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Savannah Stewart at SStewart@RichmondPD.net or 510-620-6541, or call our tip line at 510-307-T1PS (510-307-8177); you can always remain anonymous while providing information.Read More
In buybuy Baby store parking lot
By Pleasant Hill Police Department
On Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at about 10:00 AM, Officers were sent to a call that a female subject attempted to take a mother’s baby from her arms in the parking lot of buybuy Baby (at 3250 Buskirk Ave) Officers determined that the female suspect was attempting to steal the victim’s car using force. The mother and baby were not injured. The suspect ran away before officers arrived. Officers located the suspect nearby at Extended Stay America (at 3220 Buskirk Ave). The suspect was arrested and booked into jail for attempt carjacking, PC 215.
This case was presented to the DA’s Office. Charges of attempted carjacking and battery were formally filed against the suspect, who remains in custody.Read More
By Richmond Police Department
On June 3, 2021 at approximately 1:38PM, the RPD Communications Center received emergency calls regarding a shooting that had occurred in the 1400 block of Kelsey Street, near the Shields Reid Community Center.
One victim sustained a gunshot wound to his head, and was airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition. A second victim was shot in his lower extremity and was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Multiple rifle and pistol casings were located at the scene.
Investigators are seeking additional witnesses who may have seen a white compact sedan in the area at the time of the incident. A ShotSpotter audio of the incident has been released.
6/7/21 UPDATE – HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION ***
Unfortunately, the victim who was airlifted in critical condition has succumbed to his injuries.
If you have further information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Michael Sagan at MSagan@RichmondPD.net or 510-620-6622, or call our tip line at 510-307-T1PS (510-307-8177); you can always remain anonymous while providing information.Read More