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Prosecutors group chides Sheriff Livingston for email lauding ex-deputy Hall, lambasting DA Becton

Alliance asks county supervisors to investigate sheriff's office disciplinary practices

The Prosecutors Alliance of California has asked the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to audit the disciplinary practices in Sheriff David Livingston's department and increase outside oversight of alleged departmental misconduct.

Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston. (Photo courtesy of CCCSO)

The request comes in the wake of an email Livingston sent his department after the March 3 sentencing of Contra Costa deputy Andrew Hall, who received a six-year-prison sentence after being convicted of assault with a firearm in the 2018 killing of unarmed motorist Laudemer Arboleda in Danville.

Hall -- then an officer in Danville, which contracts with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office for police service -- also shot and killed Tyrell Wilson in 2021, after seeing the homeless man holding a pocketknife. The county has paid a total of $9.4 in settlement money to both families, even though the second killing is still being investigated.

In the email, Livingston wrote that Hall "served with honor and distinction," and "After an extensive internal investigation, he was found to be within departmental policy when he was forced to use deadly force to protect himself and others on that fateful day. I was proud to support him publicly and privately after the events of November 3, 2018, and I support him today."

"For our district attorney to charge a deputy sheriff, or any peace officer, for a crime based on a split-second tactical decision is abhorrent," Livingston wrote. "It is even more abhorrent for that same district attorney to later repost photos on her reelection campaign social media that show her smiling and proclaiming that she 'charged the officer.'"

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The Prosecutors Alliance of California said Monday it sent a letter to the county board of supervisors, saying Livingston's remarks suggest "he believes his deputies are above the law, raising serious concerns over the legitimacy of an Internal Affairs investigation into former Deputy Andrew Hall and how the Sheriff is disciplining officers who abuse their authority."

"Sheriff Livingston's comments are abhorrent and indicate his belief that deputies who kill are above the law," said Cristine Soto DeBerry, the group's founder and executive director, in a statement. "Police have wide latitude to use force, but when they unnecessarily kill they must be held accountable just like anyone else in our community. When we do not hold police accountable, people do not trust the legal system to protect them. That makes the job of policing more difficult and dangerous, and it makes it far less likely that crimes will be reported. That, in turn, poses a threat to everyone's safety."

Livingston responded to the allegations Monday, writing in an email "The so-called 'Prosecutors Alliance' committee is made up of only four of the 58 DAs in the state. Contra Costa is not San Francisco or Los Angeles where two of their far-leftwing founding members serve. Instead of playing politics here, they should do their job and prosecute offenders and start caring about crime victims for once."

The alliance also said Hall being convicted for a shooting that Livingston's department found lawful "raises serious questions about the Sheriff's commitment to public safety and accountability."

"DA Becton courageously charged Officer Hall with the death of Mr. Arboleda, a jury convicted him, and a judge sentenced him to prison," said DeBerry. "Sheriff Livingston should accept the jury's verdict and look at ways to reduce the use of unnecessary force by his deputies rather than question the prosecutor's decision to bring charges and defiantly proclaim to 'have the back' of officers where a jury has determined the force to be criminal."

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Prosecutors group chides Sheriff Livingston for email lauding ex-deputy Hall, lambasting DA Becton

Alliance asks county supervisors to investigate sheriff's office disciplinary practices

by Tony Hicks / BCN Foundation /

Uploaded: Tue, Mar 15, 2022, 3:12 pm

The Prosecutors Alliance of California has asked the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to audit the disciplinary practices in Sheriff David Livingston's department and increase outside oversight of alleged departmental misconduct.

The request comes in the wake of an email Livingston sent his department after the March 3 sentencing of Contra Costa deputy Andrew Hall, who received a six-year-prison sentence after being convicted of assault with a firearm in the 2018 killing of unarmed motorist Laudemer Arboleda in Danville.

Hall -- then an officer in Danville, which contracts with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office for police service -- also shot and killed Tyrell Wilson in 2021, after seeing the homeless man holding a pocketknife. The county has paid a total of $9.4 in settlement money to both families, even though the second killing is still being investigated.

In the email, Livingston wrote that Hall "served with honor and distinction," and "After an extensive internal investigation, he was found to be within departmental policy when he was forced to use deadly force to protect himself and others on that fateful day. I was proud to support him publicly and privately after the events of November 3, 2018, and I support him today."

"For our district attorney to charge a deputy sheriff, or any peace officer, for a crime based on a split-second tactical decision is abhorrent," Livingston wrote. "It is even more abhorrent for that same district attorney to later repost photos on her reelection campaign social media that show her smiling and proclaiming that she 'charged the officer.'"

The Prosecutors Alliance of California said Monday it sent a letter to the county board of supervisors, saying Livingston's remarks suggest "he believes his deputies are above the law, raising serious concerns over the legitimacy of an Internal Affairs investigation into former Deputy Andrew Hall and how the Sheriff is disciplining officers who abuse their authority."

"Sheriff Livingston's comments are abhorrent and indicate his belief that deputies who kill are above the law," said Cristine Soto DeBerry, the group's founder and executive director, in a statement. "Police have wide latitude to use force, but when they unnecessarily kill they must be held accountable just like anyone else in our community. When we do not hold police accountable, people do not trust the legal system to protect them. That makes the job of policing more difficult and dangerous, and it makes it far less likely that crimes will be reported. That, in turn, poses a threat to everyone's safety."

Livingston responded to the allegations Monday, writing in an email "The so-called 'Prosecutors Alliance' committee is made up of only four of the 58 DAs in the state. Contra Costa is not San Francisco or Los Angeles where two of their far-leftwing founding members serve. Instead of playing politics here, they should do their job and prosecute offenders and start caring about crime victims for once."

The alliance also said Hall being convicted for a shooting that Livingston's department found lawful "raises serious questions about the Sheriff's commitment to public safety and accountability."

"DA Becton courageously charged Officer Hall with the death of Mr. Arboleda, a jury convicted him, and a judge sentenced him to prison," said DeBerry. "Sheriff Livingston should accept the jury's verdict and look at ways to reduce the use of unnecessary force by his deputies rather than question the prosecutor's decision to bring charges and defiantly proclaim to 'have the back' of officers where a jury has determined the force to be criminal."

Comments

H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 16, 2022 at 7:14 am
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 7:14 am

Who is actually in charge of the Danville Police? It's time for Danville to establish actual accountability and control by following San Ramon's lead and ditching the Sheriff's office for its own police force. There has been an evident leadership vacuum exposed by these incidents.


Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Mar 16, 2022 at 7:47 am
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 7:47 am

"Who is actually in charge of the Danville Police? " Well, it's the Sheriff. And based on his support of Hall, it's clear that the Sheriff's "use of force policy" means that if you in any way confront one of his deputies, you forfeit your right to continue to live." There needs to be recall of Sheriff Livingston, and Danville needs to create its own police department that is accountable directly to the Town Government. The Town needs to put aside economics, step up and install a police department that actually "protects and serves."


2BConsidered
Registered user
San Ramon
on Mar 16, 2022 at 8:12 am
2BConsidered, San Ramon
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 8:12 am

To the author of this article,

Please don’t mistake facts. “ -- also shot and killed Tyrell Wilson in 2021, after seeing the homeless man holding a pocketknife.”

What? Wilson was doing more than holding a knife. The guy was throwing rocks onto cars moving 70 mph, then blocking a busy intersection causing further danger, then he failed to follow directions from law enforcement, and what ultimately caused his death was he raised a deadly weapon and took steps toward a deputy causing a deadly use of force incident.

Why are people looking the other way at the timing of the DA’s decision to press charges on the first shooting? It seemed obvious to many that the new DA filed charges on Hall’s first shooting (that was previously cleared) LITERALLY the DAY AFTER the George Floyd verdict indicate any politically motivated angle.

Hall was used by a movement much larger than him and the sheriff has the intestinal fortitude to stand up.

I just wish that sometimes people who make these decisions on Monday mornings would see what visceral damage a knife can do to a body. Or see the damage and carnage that a rock going through a windshield can do, or see the results of a car crashing into a human being and cars crashing into others to avoid this….oh wait - Cops do, and now in addition to that trauma and cross they must bare, we have people sitting around afterward who don’t know violence now making these Monday morning UNeducated decisions that has nothing to do with victims. There once was a time when a person about to stab someone was considered a suspect and the person protecting themselves was a victim.

Respectfully,

(A tax payer who just forked out a bunch of money for civil lawyers who use family tragedy to fill their pockets… and get future citizens and officers hurt)


Jennifer
Registered user
Danville
on Mar 16, 2022 at 8:42 am
Jennifer, Danville
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 8:42 am

The DA did file charges the day after the George Floyd verdict. Becton needs to go. Hall was used by a movement. Knives, rocks and a vehicle approaching an officer are life threatening.


NickV
Registered user
Danville
on Mar 16, 2022 at 8:49 am
NickV, Danville
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 8:49 am

The article's author stated the victim was "unarmed." Since when is a 6,000 pound vehicle driven recklessly and intentionally at an officer NOT being armed with a deadly use of force weapon????? Tony?? OR...Tony....why did you, being a bright intelligent reporter, choose to use the phrase "shot and killed Tyrell Wilson in 2021, after seeing the homeless man holding a pocketknife"? He didn't just drive by and saw a man with a pocket knife and decided to shoot him. The man refused to comply. Held the knife up and took a step toward the officer. It is fair to debate tactics but it doesn't help when the media is biased to word things in such a way to ignore facts.


D
Registered user
Danville
on Mar 16, 2022 at 9:09 am
D, Danville
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 9:09 am

Sheriff Livingston please know that the overwhelming majority of Danville residents fully support you and the outstanding men and woman who serve our town's police department. DA Becton, who was caught plagarizing her application for DA, has no credibility, and is more concerned about the rights of criminals than the law abiding people in our county. This so called "Prosecutors Group" who are attacking Sheriff Livingston is made up of only 4 DA's, including the self avowed socialist San Francisco DA whose pro-criminal and anti-victim policies have turned San Francisco into a criminal's paradise. DA Becton's policies have resulted in a huge increase in crime in our county, as illustrated by the video of the gang of criminals who took over Norstrom's and other businesses in Walnut Creek knowing DA Becton was soft on crime. If you want to turn our county into crime infested San Francisco, vote for DA Becton and her liberal buddy running against Sheriff Livingston.


Steve White
Registered user
another community
on Mar 16, 2022 at 10:30 am
Steve White , another community
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 10:30 am

Contra Costa DA Diane Becton got her job because the old DA got in trouble for what seemed to be a minor election law violation - he did not resign when it came out, IIRC, he resigned the day the AG filed charges. The AG was Xavier Becerra - who, it appears, got carried to DC by Kamala Harris - to get a cabinet position he had no experience in.
With Mark Peterson gone, the Contra Costa Supervisors got to appoint the new DA, and Diane Becton had strong supporters on that board - so, she was chosen by them, not the voters - the Sheriff says, correctly, Contra Costa is not SF or LA - would they have voted Becton in? Let's hope not.
Becton hired a man who was a Harris associate, Larry Wallace, who had resigned from the AG's office after a sexual harassment lawsuit against him got in the news - Harris claimed she did not know about the i lawsuit- that claim is ridiculous, completely ridiculous - the claim is made Wallace was specializing in political corruption. I think someone should look to try to see if he acted to get dirt on people and then use it for actions just like this - force Mark Peterson out so Diane Becton could get his seat. I do not have any evidence of that - but we have a DA who appears highly political, not motivated by principle, hiring this guy even though that is the wrong move politically - and we have Kamala Harris keeping him on after the sexual harassment lawsuit had been filed- and Harris is s completely ruthless hyper ambitions monster IMO - I feel absolutely sure she would have ditched him when she first found out about the lawsuit - which was likely before it was even filed- IF HE DID NOT KNOW TOO MUCH.
It is perfectly legal to amass files of dirt on people - but NOT to do so while being paid as a law enforcement officer, unless it is legitimate investigation. I think it was dirty, and hope the Contra Costa Sheriff will do his own investigating into Wallace.


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 16, 2022 at 10:53 am
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 10:53 am

Anyone can have opinions on motivations etc. but there is the undeniable facts that people are dead . If Hall acted within department policy and that policy cost upward of $10mm in fines, something is wrong. I find few that would argue that San Ramon was wrong to build their own police; why shouldn't Danville do the same? This seems like a perfect opportunity to build something that is controlled and supported by the town rather than allowing outside control by county interests.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Mar 17, 2022 at 12:11 am
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2022 at 12:11 am

Cristine Soto DeBerry of The Prosecutors Alliance of California stated the following:

“When we do not hold police accountable, people do not trust the legal system to protect them.”

Well guess what, Soto Berry, when prosecutors use politics to not hold criminals accountable, people do not trust the legal system.

Take a look at the latest pole which shows 68% of voters in San Francisco support recalling Chesa Boudin in the June 7 election.

Soto Berry and her bunch have an agenda. Worse, district attorneys have allowed political influence to infiltrate the justice system.

Personally, I don’t trust any of them.


Lance Mirrison
Registered user
Danville
on Mar 23, 2022 at 9:21 pm
Lance Mirrison, Danville
Registered user
on Mar 23, 2022 at 9:21 pm

As a 42 year law enforcement veteran, and someone who knows that Sheriff Livingston holds high standards for his deputies, it is especially galling to see a few activist so-called District Attorneys critiquing him. Who would question a D.A. who smiles and virtue flags the arrest of a deputy? Who wouldn’t take note of the political timing and tenor of the prosecution? Danville citizens have a great layer of true professionalism protecting their families and their properties. This almost ensures no one will come at them with a knife, putting to the test how they value their life versus a D.A.‘s quarterbacking. Sheriff Livingston never, to my knowledge, gave any deputy a pass for unprofessional conduct. Attacking him stinks of politics, and that is something we all can recognize for ourselves.


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