I received a request from Allen Payton of the Antioch Herald concerning Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s, of Antioch, marginalizing police officers. Below is my response.
Dear Mr. Payton,
Before going any further, I need to say that I find the East Contra Costa County NAACP a viable organization that has worked extensively for inclusive communities and continues to create homogeneous communities in East Contra Costa County that are diverse and diverse. I am completing my membership application request to become a member of the association.
I did attend the Martin Luther King, Jr’s prayer breakfast, sponsored by the East Contra Costa County NAACP. I received an invite from Odessa Lefrancois, installed as President of the group during the meal. I am grateful that Ms. Lefrancois extended the invitation.
I represented the proclamation that the City Council of Oakley extended honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I did so at the behest of Ms. Lefrancois. The proclamation was the first to honor Dr. King by the City of Oakley City Council. The reception of the proclamation of those attending the breakfast was commendatory.
Mayor Thorpe followed my presentation. Mayor Thorpe’s first words were, “Some cities just give proclamations; in Antioch, we do something about it.” The statement intended to insult Oakley’s proclamation. It was evident in Mayor Thorpe’s mind that the Oakley City Council gives a token acknowledgment of Dr. King’s legacy but fails to address systemic racism in Oakley. Yes, Mayor Thorpe’s rhetoric and hostile discourse is not valid.
Mayor Thorpe said he has solved racism in Antioch by “reining in the police.” Mayor Thorpe stated, “we have banned certain control holds that the police can use." “We deny the police the use of military-grade equipment.” “We have created a police oversight commission.” Mayor Thorpe was indicating he had placed the yoke of oppression on Antioch’s police officers and implemented what seemed an era of tyranny towards Antioch officers. Mayor Thorpe said that his efforts have resulted in a fifty percent decrease in murders in Antioch. Antioch residents do not suffer injustices from the police because of his actions.
Mayor Thorpe continued that there were three Black council members on the Antioch City Council. Consequently, Mayor Thorpe could implement his agenda, which favored Black lives in Antioch. Also, those who attempted to recall him from the council would experience consequences for trying to do so. In short, Mayor Thorpe marginalized Antioch Police Officers as a violent, out-of-control, racist organization, and he was protecting Antioch from the police.
Initially, Mayor Thorpe experienced polite applause for his statements. At the end of his lengthy monologue, he received no applause.
My immediate concern was the well-being of Oakley Police Officers. Oakley officers respond to mutual aid requests from the Antioch Police Officers when the Antioch officers confront an emergency that strains their safety resources. Mayor Thorpe’s statements indicate that he would have no qualms demonizing an Oakley officer for responding to a situation where lives were at risk. The threat to the Oakley officer, and the officer’s family, would be catastrophic. Mayor Thorpe’s outlandish statements are obviously politically motivated, and I believe he would use an Oakley officer as a pawn to advance his political agenda.
I believe it is incumbent on the Oakley City Council to determine the threat to Oakley officers and take precautionary measures to protect them as they respond to mutual aid requests in Antioch. I am grateful that the Oakley City Council agreed (except perhaps one member who has publicly commented on my statements) to discuss the issue and reconcile any dangers to Oakley officers.
The Oakley police department offers extensive training on professional responses to critical safety issues and contains them with the least amount of force necessary to control the situation. The City of Oakley takes a course of providing adequate funding for the police department to be able to deliver professional police services properly. Oakley officers are aware of systemic racism, even in Oakley, and how to respond to such demagoguery, ensuring the well-being of all members of the Oakley inclusive community.
An example of Oakley’s professionalism occurred the night of January 15, 2023, the night before the NAACP breakfast; officers responded to a man with a gun in Oakley. Upon arrival, the suspect pointed a gun at the officer. The officer retreated, and the Oakley officers contained the area and called for a mental health team to respond to the location. The mental health team responded by convincing the suspect to surrender their weapon. The officers afforded the health services the suspect so urgently required. That is an example of the” true grit professional police services” Oakley officers deliver. I will not allow those services to be “trashed” by Mayor Thorpe.
I do not want to see an Oakley officer end their career by saving the life of an Antioch officer or Antioch resident and suffer a catastrophic tyrannical political outburst from the Mayor of Antioch, Lamar Thorpe.
I previously mentioned to you that Mayor Thorpe made similar comments at the Contra Costa County Mayor's Conference meeting in Hercules, on January 5, 2023.
Hopefully, the above answers your request.
With best regards,
George Fuller, MPA, MA
George Fuller, MPA, MA
City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA
Published by George Fuller, MPA, MA
CEO, Daniel Jonathan Fuller Memorial Fund
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