Richmond Councilmember's Email on Police Funding Raises Eyebrows

NBC Universal, Inc.

An email from an East Bay councilmember is raising a lot of eyebrows.

Richmond councilmember Nat Bates was responding to a community activist on the issue of police funding.

In the email, Bates blasted the City of Oakland for diverting extra funding away from police and criticized the role of unarmed mental health crisis workers.

“If someone is breaking into my home, threatening my life, I want a police officer with a gun,” he said.

Bates saw an email from Jewell Bachelor, a Richmond teacher who lives in Oakland, petitioning him to take funding away from the Richmond Police Department and invest that money elsewhere.

That’s when he responded to her email. Bachelor could not believe it.

“I thought it was spam but there was the language around it that I was not understanding. So when I took the time, I understood this was a personal message,” Bachelor said.

In the email, Bates did not hold back.

The Richmond councilmember criticized Oakland city leaders for choosing to divert additional millions away from Oakland police while the city grapples with an increase in violent crime.

“Unfortunately, we have a group of individuals who are using what occurred in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Chicago as a means of defunding the Richmond Police Department,” he said.

Bates also wrote the following in the email to Bachelor:

“When a criminal [is] breaking into my auto or home while threatening [me] and my family life, I want a police officer with a pistol, shotgun and if possible a canine to make sure the idiot do not escape, not a damn mental social worker with an iPad as you desire.”

“The tone of the message really proves that he doesn’t care about the people of Richmond!” Bachelor added.

When speaking with NBC Bay Area's Melissa Colorado, he spoke about his stance on the issue.

“They feel as though they can come into our city wearing their Black Lives Matter t-shirts and so forth and dictate how police should be in our community,” Bates said.

After the death of George Floyd, the city of Richmond created a Reimaging Public Safety Community Task Force. High School teacher Luis Chacon sits on that task force, which helped divert $3 million of police funding to a number of social services – ranging from homelessness to youth summer jobs.

“He [Bates] fails to acknowledge the direction that the task force has been going and the conversation that the task force has been having around what safety really looks like,” said Chacon.

Bates told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday why he doesn't want the City of Richmond to cut back on police funding.

“We want a strong police presence to curtail as much of this violence as we can,” Bates said.

Contact Us