A city that has endured its share of racial tension in recent years reached a political milestone this week: the swearing-in of the first black mayor in Antioch’s 162-year history.
The significance of Wade Harper’s elevation to the city’s top elected post is also reflected in his position as a career police officer who ran on a “zero tolerance for crime” platform.
Public safety has emerged as the top political issue in Antioch as crime has grown more worrisome in recent years. It has also played a role in some of the friction involving minority groups, including allegations by civil rights organizations of racial profiling and police misconduct. The city’s police chief has recently reached out to minority populations in an effort to build trust and make the police force more diverse.