Antioch moves forward on series of police reform measures

ByMatt Boone KGO logo
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Antioch moves forward with police reform measures
The Antioch City Council voted to move forward on a series of police reform measures.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- The Antioch City Council voted to move forward on a series of police reform measures on Friday in a special session that went late into the night.

The measures were brought forward by Mayor Lamar Thorpe who called them a "blueprint" for reform.

As such, the council was not yet voting to officially implement the reforms. Rather, they were voting to direct city staff to investigate and create policy drafts that would be brought for a decision at a later meeting.

The first item was whether the city wanted to create a mental health crisis response team.

The council heard a presentation from a program called CAHOOTS which operates in Eugene, Oregon.

They also heard more than two hours of public comment, including written messages that were all read out loud.

The item was underscored by the death of Angelo Quinto, who died on Dec. 26 while in Antioch Police custody.

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His family had called police three days earlier. Video provided by their attorney John Burris shows the aftermath of the confrontation, in which Quinto laid face down and unresponsive.

Antioch police have not commented on the case, but Burris claims an officer used the knee to neck restraint on Quinto for five minutes before he died.

"I think they don't know how to justify it," said Burris, referring to the silence from APD.

He said he supports the effort to create a mental health response team, wishing it had been available when Quinto's family called police.

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"No question in my mind, a non-police response would have saved his life," said Burris.

In a 5-0 vote, the council voted to direct staff to identify program models in mental health crisis response and mental health of officers and dispatch.

The council also voted to move forward on establishing a new set of training modules that are publicly reviewed and updated, including training on implicit bias, conflict resolution, interaction with youth, LGBTQ , and English language learners as well as de-escalation techniques.

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In a 3-2 vote, the council also directed city staff to draft a policy that would limit the city's ability to purchase new military grade equipment from the federal government.

In another unanimous vote, the city voted to bring back the discussion of body-worn cameras and dash cameras, requesting city staff come back with potential vendors and associated costs.

The fifth item on the agenda involved various options for independent police oversight. The council voted 3-2 on a motion to that would appoint the council as an interim independent oversight board.

The meeting was still going on as of 11 p.m. Friday. The remaining items had not yet been discussed.