Martinez, CA – A group of progressive California prosecutors has demanded the Costa County Sheriff’s Office’s (CCSO) disciplinary practices be audited after an internal investigation determined a Danville police officer who fatally shot a suspect did not violate department policy.
The small group of prosecutors includes Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, and San Joaquin District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar, KTVU reported.
Although the group consists of less than seven percent of the 58 elected district attorneys within the state of California, they have dubbed themselves the Prosecutors Alliance of California.
The group expressed further outrage over the fact that Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston continued to support now-former Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall, even after he was criminally convicted of assault with a firearm in connection with the Nov. 3, 2018 shooting death of Laudemer Arboleda and sentenced to six years in prison on March 4, KTVU reported.
The jury could not come to a consensus on an additional charge of voluntary manslaughter, according to KTVU.
Officer Hall said he shot Arboleda, 33, because he believed the suspect was about to hit him with his vehicle and that he acted to protect himself and his fellow officers.
The CCSO, which contracts with the Danville for law enforcement services, conducted the internal investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting and cleared Officer Hall of wrongdoing, according to KNTV.
Sheriff Livingston wrote a letter to his staff in the wake of Hall’s conviction, calling it “a sad day for the Sheriff’s Office, the community we serve and law enforcement in general,” KTVU reported.
The sheriff said Hall received an “unusually long sentence by any measure” for the offense of assault with a firearm.
He further noted Hall answered “thousands of calls for service” during his tenure as a law enforcement officer, and that he served with “honor and distinction” and was “well received by the citizens of our county,” KTVU reported.
Sheriff Livingston said the CCSO’s Internal Affairs investigators determined Officer Hall did nothing wrong during the fatal encounter and acted within policy.
“[Hall was] forced to use deadly force to protect himself that day,” the sheriff wrote.
Sheriff Livingston told his staff that Becton had used the case as a political coup, KTVU reported.
“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,” the sheriff declared.
He concluded the message by thanking his staff for their commitment to the community and for the sacrifices they make, KTVU reported.
“Most importantly, I have your back,” Sheriff Livingston wrote.
The Prosecutors Alliance of California fired off a letter to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on March 21 denouncing Sheriff Livingston’s stance on the matter and calling for an audit of the CCSO’s disciplinary practices, KTVU reported.
They further demanded an increase in outside oversight of misconduct issues pertaining to the CCSO.
“Sheriff [David] Livingston’s comments are abhorrent and indicate his belief that deputies who kill are above the law,” the group’s co-founder, Cristine Soto DeBerry said, according to KTVU.
Deberry told the county supervisors that the fact that the CCSO’s internal investigators cleared Hall of wrongdoing “raises serious questions about the sheriff’s commitment to public safety and accountability.”
“Police have wide latitude to use force, but when they unnecessarily kill they must be held accountable just like anyone else in our community,” she added. “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.”
Sheriff Livingston held steady in his position despite the outrage expressed by the progressive district attorneys’ group.
He pointed out that the “so-called ‘Prosecutors Alliance’ committee is made up of only four of the 58 DAs in the state,” most of whom have nothing to do with Contra Costa County at all, KTVU reported.
Sheriff Livingston further noted that his jurisdiction “is not San Francisco or Los Angeles, where two of their far-left-wing founding members serve.”
“Instead of playing politics here, they should do their job and prosecute offenders and start caring about crime victims for once,” he told KTVU.
Contra Costa County settled a $4.9 million wrongful death lawsuit with Arboleda’s family in October of 2021, prior to Hall’s conviction, KTVU reported.