Senior-level APD officers signed off on now deemed 'excessive' use of force, report says

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Saturday, November 11, 2023
Senior APD officers signed off on 'excessive' use of force: report
Newly obtained police reports document "excessive" use of force incidents by Antioch Police, which senior-level officers signed off on.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Newly obtained police reports document use of force incidents by Antioch Police, in which senior-level officers signed off on what a federal indictment later deemed to be "excessive."

"You shouldn't feel like the police are a gang. I mean, we are supposed to be afraid of street gangs, but are afraid of the police. It makes no sense," said Nicole Arrington, a community organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Engagement, or ACCE.

She says the reports further highlight concerns about the Antioch Police Department.

"Sometimes, some people go along with the culture instead of standing against it," said Arrington. "You can't have people in (the department), who have the mentality that they hate people."

RELATED: Civil rights investigation launched into Antioch PD for alleged racist texts, excessive force

In one of the police reports, Officer Eric Rombough shot a suspect within one to three feet of him, with what is known as a less lethal weapon. He did so even though the suspect was already surrounded by police at the time, to which Sergeant Rick Hoffman wrote, "Force appears to be within policy."

Hoffman is also the former president of the Antioch Police Officers Association.

But a federal indictment released in August charged several Antioch police officers with using excessive force, including Rombough related to the above incident.

Attorney Ben Nisembaum represents clients at the center of Antioch police texting scandal. He says these police reports expose a problem in police leadership.

MORE: Antioch, Pittsburg cops in court on charges of conspiracy and accepting bribes, including tequila

"Now you have the former POA president, who signed off on uses of force that officers later got indicted for. They accepted excessive use of force by their officers. They ratified it," said Nisenbaum, who is calling for federal oversight of the Antioch Police Department.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe has seen the police reports. He previously has called for officer involved in the texting scandal to be fired and is also calling for more reforms.

"When it comes to investigations and administrative proceedings, that is all important. But the fact of the matter is that we need to change the structure internally, so we can begin to change the culture at the police department," Thorpe said.

Antioch police did not return requests for comment.

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