Antioch officials announce police reform efforts amid FBI probe

Antioch city council members and the chief of police announced new reform efforts on Tuesday, amid an investigation by the FBI and county prosecutors into multiple officers on the force. 

The reforms focus on K-9 policy, tracking use-of-force statistics and monitoring department issued cell phone use – all issues that appear to have relevance to the larger criminal probe. 

"How can we expect our community to work with us to both prevent and solve crimes if we aren’t holding ourselves accountable?" Antioch City Councilwoman Monica Wilson, who chairs the police oversight committee, said. "There is no denying that we have a lot of work to do. As the issues we have within the department have been unchecked for decades." 

Eight officers -- totaling 15% of the patrol division -- are currently under investigation and on administrative leave, the city’s mayor, Lamar Thorpe, announced last month.

Officials have not revealed any details about the investigation that also involves officers from Pittsburg.

But KTVU learned it involves possible abuse of prescription testosterone supplements, text messages between officers and K9 use-of-force incidents. 

In a KTVU investigation in May, we revealed that one officer and his dog were responsible for 22 bites in just three years

KTVU has now learned that officer, Morteza Amiri, is one of the officers under investigation. The East Bay Times first reported Amiri was under investigation.

Records show his dog, Pursy, was responsible for several severe injuries – including biting a suspect’s face. It’s not clear if any of the incidents were found to be a violation of policy. 

"We will take a closer look at how we deploy our K9s with an emphasis on mitigating harm and liability," Ford said.

Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker also revealed officers Nicholas Shipilov, Calvin Prieto and Andrea Rodriguez were under investigation. 

KTVU reached out to attorneys for several of the officers. They have declined to comment. 

Torres-Walker was involved in several high-profile encounters with the officers. She was charged with a misdemeanor of interfering with law enforcement last year when police were called to her home on the report of shots fired. 

Those charges were later dropped by the district attorney "in the interest of justice."

A year earlier, officers detained her two sons, ages 23 and 13, for riding off-road vehicles illegally on city streets. She posted a profanity-filled video about the incident on Facebook. 

"I know what this violation feels like as my family and I were subjected to humiliating treatment," Torres-Walker said. 

She called on the district attorney’s office to release the names of all the officers under investigation. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @evansernoffsky.