Antioch Mayor Leads ‘Race Matters' Town Hall Amid Police Scandal

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Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe led a conversation about race and what it means in Contra Costa County on Wednesday night.

Among the things expected to come up was the city's changing demographics.

“Today, we are the second most diverse city in the Bay Area and I don’t think we have talked about race we have had things happen nationally, we have had things happen here where people get fired up,” he said.

Right now, more than a dozen members of the police department are embroiled in a scandal, involving racist and homophobic texts shared between officers.

Delta Bay Community Church hosted the event, and the conversation includes James Taylor, professor of politics and the University Of San Francisco.

Thorpe said it will give people a much-needed chance to speak out and weigh in.

“I think allow people to be heard and certainly talk about solutions and if there are things that pop up that are worth bringing back to council. I think that’s appropriate,” he said.

Kathryn Wade was there carrying signs and anger and grief about the truth of what happened to her late son at the hands of Antioch police beginning in 2014.

“He was beaten maliciously, beaten. And I witnessed the beating,” she said. “He was actually going to take his second test to be a correctional officer just like them so he became mentally I’ll after that, he was beat five times total by Antioch PD.” 

Her son Malad Baldwin’s name appeared on page 11 of that report by the FBI and Contra Costa district attorney’s office where officers graded him for being in the 84th percentile for deadly force.

Malad died in 2021 after a final encounter with police.

He will never see the report that came out earlier this month - detailing hundreds of racist and homophobic text messages as part of an FBI investigation into the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments.

As many as 45 officers, including sergeants and Lieutenants are involved, most on paid leave. And the city faces a federal lawsuit for civil rights violations. 

“The news asked me earlier, ‘Do you have 100% confidence in the chief?’ and I said ‘that remains to be seen,’” said Thorpe. “There's a lot of runway to understand where we’re going and so I am. Not blindly trusting people anymore.”

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is set to lead a conversation Wednesday night about race and what it means in Contra Costa County on Wednesday night. Christie Smith reports.
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