Antioch mayor says city will pay 'excessive amount' amid police officer scandal

Antioch's mayor on Thursday would not discuss the specifics of any additional officers being placed on leave amid an ongoing investigation, but he did say that he planned to call a special meeting with the police chief so that the community could ask some tough questions.

This week, the Bay Area News Group reported that as a grand jury continues to weigh potential criminal charges against eight Antioch police officers, an additional eight officers were placed on leave for allegedly sending offensive text messages to each other.

The latest round of officers were placed on leave this week for texting or receiving racist and homophobic messages, multiple sources familiar with the matter told BANG. 

"I am not here to confirm any rumors or speculation about the nature of what was discovered," Mayor Lamar Thorpe said at a news conference. "I respect and believe in the right to due process. That being said, we're also not going to sweep these matters under the rug as we've done in the past."

As a result of the investigation, and with so many officers now on leave, Thorpe warned that the city is going to have to pay an "excessive amount of money" to hire law enforcement from other agencies to fill in, potential litigation, and outside independent investigations.

"To say that I am outraged is an understatement as it relates to this matter," Thorpe said. "I'm deeply disappointed because for a long time, those of us who have been elected to serve in this very room behind me have failed to ask tough questions about what's happening in our various city departments, including the police department."

Thorpe's latest announcement comes roughly a year into the March 2022  investigation by the FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office into police officers from the Antioch and Pittsburg police departments for alleged crimes of "moral turpitude." 

At least eight of Antioch's 57 police officers were under investigation last year. Thorpe said one of those officers has since retired. At least three Pittsburg police officers are also under investigation. 

"We're not going to pretend that we have a few issues with a few bad apples," Thorpe said. "It is clear we have a cultural and systemic problems that persist to this very day."