Antioch police chief upset with student protest that ended in arrests

The police chief of Antioch spoke out at two school board meetings Wednesday night about an anti-Trump student protest march last week that led to three students being arrested.

The impromptu march involved several hundred Pittsburg High School students who left a school rally and crossed city lines into neighboring Antioch, eventually ending up at Antioch High School.

Antioch police chief Allan Cantando spoke Wednesday night at the Antioch School Board meeting and praised school staff for locking down Antioch High School and preventing their students from leaving.

Chief Cantando voiced concerns, however, at the Pittsburg School Board meeting. He says some of the Pittsburg students pushed over trash cans, broke a window of a Subway restaurant, and trespassed on Antioch High School property. Chief Cantando was also upset that the Pittsburg High School principal accompanied the marchers.

"I would like the district to examine their policies. Do they really want the principal walking with truants leaving the campus? And if so, what do they hope he will be able to do? Because in this instance, he did absolutely nothing when our officer was assaulted, when they're knocking over garbage cans when they're inciting the students in Antioch?" said Cantando.

He says three students were arrested, one for throwing an orange at an officer.

The Antioch police chief says he supports free speech, but he says the neighboring school district of Pittsburg mishandled the situation and he wants them to review their policies.

Pittsburg High School principal Todd Whitmire says he's surprised by the Chief Cantando's reaction. The principal says he is surprised by the Chief's reaction and says he and two other district staff members accompanied the students to de-escalate any situations.

He said he talked with the students and prevented students from entering businesses along the way and also called in buses to send some of the students back to school.

"I don't think not having someone there from the district who knew the students...who could identify the students...would have been helpful," Whitemire said.

The school district says the Pittsburg students have been disciplined, ranging from parent conferences to suspension.

The Principal and district officials say they thank Antioch police for their help and hope the two cities can work together to help young people find constructive ways to voice their political frustration.