ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – “I felt scared. I was distraught. I could not believe what he just said,” Shagoofa Khan said.
The Antioch Police Chief is investigating after the police union president made a controversial comment on Facebook.
Corporal Steve Aiello said he believes slapping protesters who flip off police is 100-percent justified.
Some people are now planning a protest tomorrow and asking him to step down from his position.
“He’s advocating violence against peaceful protesters,” Kevin McManimen said.
“It brought me confusion. It brought me a lot of emotions whether it’s anger, disappointment just because he is a leader in our community,” Khan said.
A protest planned in Antioch for Wednesday afternoon after the city’s police union president wrote this on a Facebook post:
“I firmly believe an open hand slap in the face is 100% justified in this incident.”
The post was deleted but a photo of the post is still making its way around social media.
It shows a protester flipping off a police officer and says, ‘Maybe it’s the people, not the cops that need better training.’
Some people are now calling for the union president, Corporal Steve Aiello, to step down.
“I would like him to be removed from being the president of the police union. He just doesn’t look like he’s a good fit for the position,” McManimen said.
“We always have conversations but there’s no action afterwards so we need to hold our elected officials, our leaders accountable for how they represent our community and the police force is no institution that should be making these sort of remarks toward their own residents they are protecting,” Khan said.
KRON4 reached out to the mayor for comment but have not heard back.
We also reached out to the city councilors. Lamar Thorpe is the only one who responded calling the comment unacceptable.
“I just shook my head and thought wow, how could one of our police officers be so emboldened to say something so reckless and unacceptable?” Thorpe said.
Corporal Aiello released a statement on Tuesday that said in part, ‘That there is no instance where I would condone an Antioch police officer slapping a resident. The Facebook statement was taken out of context and I apologize to the community for having made it. Please be assured that your police officers are 100-percent committed to protecting the Antioch community and we are working 24/7 to serve you.’
The Antioch Police Chief says he is investigating the comment.
He said in a statement to KRON4 that he’s “extremely disappointed by the recent comments made on social media by Corporal Aiello. At face value they were insensitive and not in line with values of the Antioch Police Department.”
He says he’s opened an investigation and based on the findings, will hold him accountable for his actions.
The planned protest begins at 3 p.m. at Antioch City Park on Wednesday.