As RedState exclusively exposed, Soros DA Diana Becton of Contra Costa County, California is involved in an effort to transform the criminal justice system in her county. One of her new policies is to require that both police officers and her own Deputy DA’s go through a complicated, subjective flowchart before charging someone with looting during a state of emergency – including whether the suspect “needed” the item or if they were stealing it for financial gain.
That’s not her only ridiculous new policy.
Numerous Contra Costa County law enforcement officers contacted RedState in the wake of that story and shared another terrible Becton policy, the thumbnail of which is that the entire spectrum of assault on a law enforcement officer charges are rarely being charged, and are only charged after the law enforcement agency has navigated a bureaucratic and investigative maze and one of Becton’s henchmen has signed off on the charge.
This policy is in place even for a resisting/delaying/obstructing charge.
One source provided the office’s directive to RedState:
Screenshot, Contra Costa County CA DA’s Office Internal Guidance
This directive applies when reviewing allegations of Penal Code Sections 69, 71, 148, 243 (b), 245 (c), and related charges that allege use of force, threats, or violence against law enforcement.
When reviewing allegations of force, threats or violence against a law enforcement officer or when reviewing allegations of resisting, delaying, or obstructing a law enforcement officer, the reviewing Deputy District Attorney must review all available and material body worn camera footage and any other material videos, as well as all relevant evidence before a charging decision is made. Prior to making a final charging decision, a supervisor must approve the charge(s) after reviewing the body worn camera footage, along with any other material videos, and any other relevant evidence.”
A separate law enforcement source sent this information to RedState, which expands on Becton’s directive and shares yet another new policy: She’s no longer sending a Deputy DA to the scene to protect the county’s and law enforcement officers’ interests when there is an officer-involved shooting.
It’s almost like she really doesn’t care about peace officers in her county.
The first item in the screenshot reads:
“The DA herself has stated that agencies can no longer take a case of PC 69/71/148/243/245 against an officer to an on-duty Deputy DA and get a warrant or charges filed. Instead, agencies must complete a full investigation and provide all the evidence and meet with a senior Deputy DA who will review the case. Even after jumping through hoops, there is no guarantee that charges will be filed.”
Multiple sources with knowledge of the current goings-on in Becton’s office say that many Deputy DA’s will not attempt to prosecute those cases because they fear reprisal from Becton or her senior staff – even when body-worn camera evidence provides proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Another officer who works in the county told RedState there are numerous consequences (whether they’re intended or not is debatable) to what’s happening there, beyond the fact that criminals aren’t being charged with violent crimes even when there is overwhelming evidence. First, each conviction added to someone’s record increases that person’s jail time exposure the next time they’re in front of a judge. If someone is resisting arrest or assaulting a law enforcement officer it’s a safe bet that they have either been convicted of a crime before or will be in the future. That type of behavior isn’t usually a one-off.
And, judges and law enforcement officers who come in contact with that person in the future won’t have the benefit of the knowledge that the person is potentially violent. Imagine being a cop pulling up to a call and you don’t know that the subject you’re about to encounter has assaulted an officer in the past? That puts blue lives at risk.
When resisting arrest/assault on an officer charges aren’t prosecuted, officers can expect more belligerent and violent actions from suspects. What do they have to lose?
If this policy persists, Contra Costa County residents can look forward to a more violent community because good officers will go to work elsewhere or retire, and the ones left probably won’t go above and beyond to apprehend dangerous criminals. Long-time officers have told RedState that they love what they do even though the career comes with certain risks or downsides, but that they’re tired of doing their job, catching the criminal and gathering all of the evidence, then charges aren’t filed due to political reasons. As one said:
“Its not a case of me being tired of pulling out stitches, changing the bandages, going to the chiropractor, or getting exposed to other people’s bodily fluids during/after a use of force encounter. That’s something that is a part of the job. It’s going to happen. I am just tired of seeing good, honest, hardworking, proactive cops putting career criminals in jail and then for their cases not even to get filed because of politics and then getting slammed for it. Smells like bulls**t.”
The same officer described the civil liability both Contra Costa County taxpayers and the officers personally are unjustly exposed to as a result of Becton’s “transformation” of the county’s justice system:
“Every time an officer uses force on someone they open themselves and their agency to liability. You now have prosecutors who are refusing to file these cases, which often include use of force to effect the arrest. When no criminal charges are filed, the agency can be sued civilly and cop can be sued for everything he/she owns for a period of several years by that person if they decide to file a federal lawsuit.”
So, county residents get dangerous streets and higher taxes out of the deal. Sounds like a win-win.
Unsurprisingly, Becton won’t provide that same level of scrutiny and protection to law enforcement officers when there is an officer-involved incident. The second and third points in the screenshot provided to RedState say:
“The DA is no longer allowing a Deputy DA to respond when County Protocol is initiated which compromises the entire investigation. If you have not been the subject officer during such incidents, I can tell you that it is a bit un-nerving and not having a representative from the DA’s office will not help.
“Barry Grove, who is one of the national experts when it comes to Officer involved incidents has been removed as the head of the DA’s Officer Officer involved team. Furthermore, the DA herself has not yet named a replacement.”
“County Protocol” is initiated when an officer fires their duty weapons or are present during a fatality. The officers are sequestered and a third party interviews them, and a coroner’s inquest jury must be held. At the inquest, officers usually testify. Until Becton changed the procedure, a Deputy DA was always present during the initial interviews and had the opportunity to ask additional questions of the officers, and that DA would also participate in the investigation at the scene and in decisions about “who needs to be interviewed, what the crime lab needs to do,” according to Contra Costa County Sheriff Sgt. Shawn Welch, head of the office’s union.
Becton’s hand-picked spokesperson, Scott Alonso (the only employee allowed to speak to the press) said that protocol doesn’t require an attorney to be present so the office is simply sending “senior inspectors” to the scene of officer-involved incidents. This was a problem in a recent case in Bay Point in which two officers were shot and the suspect was killed:
Eduardo Martinez was the suspect in a lengthy SWAT standoff, that started with a domestic violence call. Police say Martinez doused a woman in gasoline, threatened to murder her, then refused to surrender to police because he didn’t want to “go back to jail.” Deputies shot and killed him after he fired a shotgun at them, striking one the bulletproof vest and another in the head.
No county prosecutor arrived at the scene to oversee the investigation, so the deputies’ attorney told them to refuse an interview until a county attorney was present.
A Deputy DA wasn’t “made available” until the next day according to Mercury News, jeopardizing the investigation. Alonso told the paper:
[Se]nior inspectors with the DA’s office — at least two of whom were present in Knightsen — are “highly experienced and highly trained,” and “more than capable of handling the investigation.” He said moving forward, a prosecutor can be “made available by Zoom even if they’re not physically present.”
“We followed the protocol. The protocol doesn’t require an attorney to be present at the scene, nor was this the first time an attorney hasn’t been present,” Alonso said.
Sgt. Welch, the Sheriff’s union representative, told the paper that simply sending investigators instead of a Deputy DA isn’t sufficient and will lead to messy investigations:
“It is the deputy district attorney who runs the show,” Welch said. “They’re the ones who map it out: who needs to be interviewed, what the crime lab needs to do. They direct everything so that in the end when we are done with the investigation there are no more questions… When you go against something that has worked for so many decades, why would you change it?”
It’s clear that Diana Becton and her senior deputies have no desire to put violent people who have no respect for the rule of law behind bars, and no desire to stand behind the men and women who willingly put their lives on the line every day to protect her county’s citizen. The good cops will leave, make no mistake, because as one told me, “We’re not paid to get killed.”