(KRON) — Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe can be clearly heard asking an attendee at a city council meeting Tuesday if they “want to go outside.” One of the key topics on discussion at the heated Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday were racist text messages allegedly sent by officers with the Antioch Police Department.
According to the Contra Costa County District Attorney, which investigated the text messages with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, APD officers allegedly sent the racist text messages while discussing suspects they were investigating.
The messages were purported to be part of a “pervasive and troubling culture” at APD and a review of them could potentially impact thousands of cases, according to Public Defender Ellen McDonnell.
The text messages were the subject of a public discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting when an Antioch resident approached the microphone.
In video of the meeting posted to the Antioch city website, the resident can be heard saying something about the “poor job” the city council is doing during the public comments section of the meeting.
“Let’s get an audit of your text messages,” the attendee is heard saying at one point. “
After the man finishes his comments, Mayor Thorpe bangs his gavel and tells everyone to “settle down,” before accusing the speaker of “dog whistle racism,” and rising to his feet and calling him “an apologist for what’s actually wrong with the city.”
Thorpe then asks the man, “You want to go outside? Let’s go!” The mayor goes on to say he’s “sick and tired of being attacked” by people in the community “apologizing for the racism that is going on in this community.”
The resident who sparked the outburst from the mayor was identified by the Antioch Herald as Sal Sbranti.
“You’re the problem!” the mayor then shouts before the room erupts into further disarray. At that point, another council member calls for a recess. In a subsequent section of the video, Mayor Thorpe apologizes for his outburst.
Thorpe was elected as mayor in November of 2020 and has faced controversy before. Most notably, when he was arrested for drunk driving in March of last year.