ANTIOCH (CBS SF) – Protesters calling for an end to police brutality gathered outside City Hall in Antioch on Monday, calling for the removal of two officers.
According to KPIX 5’s Kiet Do, protesters blocked the entrance to City Hall, not allowing employees to enter shortly after 7 a.m. Second Street was also blocked for a time.
Protestors now several dozen strong. I count at least 7 patrol cars on scene. pic.twitter.com/aV7ulzqJps
— Kiet Do (@KietKPIX) June 29, 2020
Just before 8 a.m., more than half a dozen Antioch Police officers appeared and told the demonstrators they were free to protest but couldn’t block the entrances or face possible arrest for disturbing the peace. Officers then formed a line and escorted employees to the side of the building.
The protesters concerns are twofold. Earlier this year, the department hired Michael Mellone, a former San Francisco Police officer. Back in 2016, surveillance video captured an incident where he inappropriately fired several bean bag rounds at Luis Gongora Pat, a homeless man in San Francisco. A few seconds later, Mellone and another officer fatally shot Gongora Pat.
Mellone was not charged in the case.
Former San Francisco DA George Gascon said at the time he was “extremely disturbed by the state of the law today, and yet I am duty bound to adhere to the law.”
Mellone quit the day before SFPD was going to suspend him for 10 days, but Antioch Police hired him a few days later.
“I couldn’t believe it because this is a person who should not be working at all as a police officer,” Adriana Camarena, a spokesperson for Gongora Pat’s family, said at Monday’s protest.
“We need to shut down business as usual, because people have been killed out here, and in San Francisco, and we’re hiring those officers here,” said protester named Franklin, who did not give his last name.
Protesters are also calling for the firing of Corporal Steve Aiello, who heads the city’s police union, over his recent social media post about slapping protesters’ faces. Both the city’s mayor and police chief have condemned his post. Aiello apologized, calling it a misunderstanding about an internet meme, and his reply.
As of about noon, protesters continued to gather at the front of City Hall. Most officers had left, but a few stayed behind to keep an eye on the scene from a distance. Employees were able to come and go from City Hall freely through the side entrances.
Kiet Do contributed to this story.