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In spite of public opposition Supervisors approve COVID-19 violation ordinance, fines

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

“You are not being inconvenienced that much.” – Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

  • Half-Cent Sales Tax Ballot Measure Plans Hung Up in Sacramento

  • Sheriff Continues Cooperation With ICE

By Daniel Borsuk

Over citizen objections, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0, Tuesday to approve fines for non-commercial and commercial public health violations in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new ordinance that goes into effect immediately requires citizens to wear face masks in the public and in commercial settings or one can be subject to a fine, or multiple fines.

Contra Costa County Health Services Director Anna Roth told supervisors the county needs an ordinance setting down fines because as of Tuesday the county’s COVID-19 caseload is still rising with 7,304 cases. In the county there have been 108 COVID-19 related deaths, she reported, of which 70 percent occurred in long term care facilities. County health officials have observed a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases since May. Roth pointed out the county is on the state’s COVID-19 Monitoring List.

Deputy County Health Director Randy Sawyer explained there is an “urgent need” for county supervisors to adopt an ordinance establishing fees so that county health enforcement officers can enforce public health orders especially during the current pandemic.  Citizens are not wearing masks and are not practicing social distancing, Sawyer said.

Sawyer said there are about 200 businesses that the county has ongoing public health complaint issues with the department.

Similar ordinances have recently been adopted in Marin and Napa counties, and the Contra Costa County ordinance requires persons to wear masks when engaged in noncommercial and commercial activities.  In Contra Costa, for the first noncommercial violation the fine is $100, $200 for the second violation and $500 for each additional violation within one year of the initial violation.

For commercial activity violations, the fine for the first violation is $250, $500 for a second violation, and $1,000 for each additional violation within one year of the initial violation. “If a violation continues to more than one day, each day is a separate violation,” the ordinance states.

Public Opposition to Mask Ordinance & Fines

Speakers opposing the ordinance said requiring persons to wear masks violates their Constitutional rights. “I oppose this ordinance because it violates our liberties, “said Dave Sutton. “It restricts our liberties.”

Similarly, Deborah Thompson said, “I oppose the ordinance because it is an abridgement of our liberties.”

Comments like those sparked District One Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond to say, “I am shocked by the lack of literacy and scant knowledge that people have.”

The supervisor said some people don’t understand that this virus is causing a public health crisis where this county “may soon run out of ICU beds and two thirds of the people who have died in the county lived in congregant living facilities.”

“We are out to get these numbers down,” Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said in reference to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the county. “A health order will do that. You are not being inconvenienced that much.”

Mitchoff, who noted Contra Costa County’s fines are less than other Bay Area county fines, said  the new ordinance will mean persons will now be required to wear a mask when they out of their house, even when they go to the fast-food drive thru. “If you don’t want to wear a mask then get used to wearing a ventilator,” the supervisor warned.

Richmond resident Edith Alderman supported the ordinance commenting,” I’m 100 percent in favor of the ordinance.  This can help get a handle on this disease.”

Speaking on behalf of the board, Chair Candace Andersen of Danville said “Many people are following the Health Order, but we need to increase our efforts together to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. To further our progress, to protect lives and reopen more local businesses and activities, we need a tool to send a fair message that everyone has to adhere to health orders to prevent the spread of the virus.”

“With a 14 percent unemployment rate, this is not the time for a sales tax hike” – Board Chair Candace Andersen

Half-Cent Sales Tax Ballot Measure Plans Hung Up in Sacramento

With the legislative clock ticking in Sacramento, the supervisors plan to meet at a special teleconferenced meeting next Tuesday in order to get a status report to waive the second reading on the supervisors’ resolution calling for a Nov. 3 half cent sales tax ballot proposal.

The special meeting was called because state legislators have not convened to act on proposed legislation, especially Contra Costa County State Senator Steve Glazer’s Senate Bill 1349, a transactions and use tax law, that the supervisors need the state Legislature to pass and Governor Gavin Newsom to sign by August 18 or the supervisors’ half cent sales proposal will not appear on the November ballot.

Deputy County Administrator Tim Ewell explained without passage of SB 1349, the county will  lose $800,000 to $1 million in state revenue to cover printing costs tied to the ballot measure, but the clock is ticking and the supervisors need to have SB 1349 passed in the legislature and signed by the governor by August 18.

“I want those funds,” said supervisor Mitchoff, “but it will only move forward if the legislature acts.”

Supervisors voted 4-1, with Chair Candace Andersen of Danville casting the lone opposing vote, to move forward to meet next Tuesday.

“I will not support it” said Andersen, who also opposed the tax increase proposal at the board’s July 14 meeting.  “With a 14 percent unemployment rate, this is not the time for a sales tax hike with such high unemployment rate.”

One of the few speakers opposing the proposal Tom Townsend of El Cerrito, said, “I am taxed to the limit and I oppose the half cent sales tax.”

“I am unsure if this ballot measure will pass,” warned District 3 Supervisor Mitchoff, but she voted in favor of it anyway.

Tax proponent Supervisor Gioia said a county resident would typically pay $60 to $80 a year should the tax measure pass in November.

The proposed language for the county tax measure reads:

“To keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staffed; fund community health centers; provide timely fire and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services, shall the Contra Costa County measure levying a ½ cent sales tax, exempting food sales, providing an estimated $81,000,000 annually for 20 years that the state cannot take, requiring fiscal accountability, with funds benefitting county residents, be adopted?”

Sheriff Continues Cooperation with ICE

Sheriff David Livingston ran into criticism from the public about how the Sheriff’s Office works with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but is not expected to change his policies.

“The Sheriff continues to respond to ICE notification requests,” said Melanie Kim, a staff attorney for Advance Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “These practices are especially cruel given that COVID-19 is running rampant inside ICE facilities.  People in ICE custody are vulnerable to grave illness or death.”

The sheriff told supervisors that because of the COVID-19 hygiene practices that his officers and the inmates use at the West Contra Costa facility in Richmond and Martinez jail, there have been no reported COVID-19 cases.

The sheriff reported that in the past year his office detained for ICE enforcement purposes, 72 were Hispanic prisoners, 18 were Asian prisoners, one was a Black prisoner, three were white prisoners, and two “other” prisoners.

Sheriff Livingston said of the 95 prisoners reported to ICE, 71 were charged for miscellaneous felonies, four for penal or murder, five for robbery, two for car jackings, and for 11 for assaults with deadly weapons.

While there were a number of critics of the Sheriff’s Office asking that the Board of Supervisors to reduce funding for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year, Karen Clarkson was one of few backers of Sheriff Livingston’s department requesting that funding remain unchanged. “I support the Sheriff,” she said. “It is an unsafe practice to defund the Sheriff.”

“This county should be safe for everyone, whether they are documented or undocumented,” said Anisha Walker, who requested that supervisors cut funds to the Sheriff’s Office.

“I have no sympathy for those who break the law and are violent criminals, “said Supervisor Mitchoff. “I support the sheriff. And I support social justice and equality at a time we are in a COVID -19 pandemic.”

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Contra Costa Sheriff’s Marine Patrol searching for missing Delta boater since Friday night

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Photos by CCCSheriff.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

A marine search is continuing today in the Delta for a missing boater.

On Friday, June 26, 2020 at about 8:25 pm, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Marine Patrol Unit was dispatched to a report of a missing boater on Indian Slough in Discovery Bay.

It is not known how the boater, a 29-year-old man, went into the water. He is not being identified at this time. Occupants on the boat, who said that he never resurfaced, immediately searched for him.

Marine patrol deputies searched the water while Deputies checked the levee shoreline. A sonar search was also conducted. Sheriff’s Office STARR 3 helicopter did an aerial search. The missing boater was not located.

The investigation and search are continuing. Anyone with any information on this incident is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441.

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Supervisors hear protests over proposed $2.8 million Sheriff’s Office increase, layoff librarians, reduce library hours

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

OK spending $10,000 on sales tax poll

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors got an earful of complaints on Tuesday from citizens upset over a proposal to award Sheriff David O. Livingston’s department a $2.8 million pay raise up and a department request to buy a $275,000 LDV Custom Specialty Vehicle at a time library hours are being slashed and librarians are getting pink slips.

At the last minute, a proposal to layoff up 16 Department of Child Support Services workers was scuttled from the agenda when county officials learned that the Governor’s Office has proposed state funding that could keep the child support services positions on the payroll. County officials were unaware of the new state funding source before Tuesday’s meeting and details were not provided at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the Black Lives Matter era, supervisors listened via teleconference how speakers objected to the county’s proposal to give Sheriff Livingston, who has been the target of numerous complaints from citizens about how his deputies abuse the rights of male and female prisoners of color, should not receive a $2.8 million increase for fiscal year 2020/2021 when many other county services like libraries are taking funding cuts.

County Administrator David Twa said because of the uncertainty of the state’s fiscal situation due to COVID-19, the supervisors will not get around to passing a 2020-2021 budget until August, not June.

Speakers also opposed Sheriff Livingston’s request to use a $275,000 2017-2018 State Homeland Security Grant Program to buy a 2019 or 2020 Ford F550 Logistics Support Vehicle.

“Now is not the time to increase the Sheriff’s budget,” protested Harry Baker of Pleasant Hill, who had demonstrated a day earlier in front of Sheriff Livingston’s Danville home. Speaking to supervisors’ telephone, Baker said. “Keep the libraries open. Police brutality is on the rise. Don’t increase the sheriff’s budget.”

“You should not increase the sheriff’s budget when you’re making cuts in the library and child support services,” complained Francisco Torrez of Pittsburg. “Libraries are part of our democratic process. Hospitals are needed in West county   Talk about militarization. We don’t have any faith in our Sheriff.”

“I oppose increasing the Sheriff’s budget,” protested Rachel Cohen of Danville. “He has proven to be a racist. Juvenile Hall should be closed. Fund social programs, public housing, libraries. Look at Minneapolis, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, at what police should look like.”

Several speakers like Raymond Hutchins called on supervisors Diane Burgis of Brentwood, Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill and Federal Glover of Pittsburg for accepting collectively $22,500 in campaign funds from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Association.

None of the three supervisors addressed the charge about accepting sheriff’s association campaign funds, especially Glover who faces a runoff election this November against county assessor Gus Kramer.

Neither the sheriff nor a spokesman was available to comment about the protestor’s statements at Tuesday’s meeting.

Concerning the sheriff’s request for a $275,000 LDV Custom Specialty Vehicle, speakers questioned why the Sheriff’s Office needs an armored vehicle for search and rescue purposes and other speakers thought the vehicle will be improperly used by deputies to patrol peaceful BLM demonstrations.

“This truck will used to respond to wildfires,” said Supervisor Mitchoff. “This is an armored vehicle. Its main use is for support.”

Supervisors unanimously approved the state grant for the sheriff to buy the CSV.

Libraries Reduce Hours, Cut Staff

County librarian Melinda Cervantes relayed the bad news to supervisors that because of the dwindling revenues, several cities have to cutback operating hours to the county’s mandatory 35 hours per week schedule. As a result of the reduced operating hours, the library is laying off 32 librarians, mostly library assistant -journey level employees.

The Brentwood library will cut hours per week from 56 to 35, Clayton from 56 to 35 hours, Concord from 52 to 48 hours, Danville from 60 to 56 hours, El Cerrito from 50 to 46 hours, Hercules from 43 to 39 hours, Lafayette from 58 to 54 hours, Moraga from 39 hours to 35 hours, Orinda from 60 per week to 56, San Pablo will reduce hours from 47 to 35, and San Ramon from 58 hours to 54 hours.

County Administrator Twa said the librarians will be offered positions elsewhere in the county, most likely clerical positions.

Supervisors voted 5-0 in approving the reduction in library operations and staffing.

Agree to Spend $10,000 on Sales Tax Poll

In the county’s quest to draw additional funds to support public services, the supervisors agreed on a 4-1 vote to spend $10,000 for a polling firm to test prospective voters whether a tax increase could muster voter approval this November.

Board chair Candace Andersen of Danville cast the lone dissenting vote on the proposal suggested by District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. Some $21,000 has already been raised to conduct a poll from labor unions and other organizations.

Certain features of the 75-word poll would test the public’s opinion about the pandemic, willingness to pay more in taxes in the areas of hospitals, sheriff services, abuse, senior services, mental health, youth services, and criticism in the community.

Hair Salons, Barber Shops Allowed to Open

Supervisors were informed from Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Warren that the county is taking another step toward alignment with the state’s guidance on opening businesses and activities, while recommending that residents stay home as much as possible and take steps to protect themselves and each other when leaving the house.

Dr. Warren told supervisors the county’s health order now allows hair salons and barber shops to reopen for business beginning Wednesday morning. They must follow state health guidance to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The new order also increases the number of swimmers who may share a pool to 1 person per 75 square feet, as allowed by the state. The social distancing order also allows as many as 100 persons to attend a funeral or other religious service at an indoor place of worship, in line with the state health guidance.

Planning Review to Begin on Walnut Creek Area Senior Development

The Contra Costa County Conservation & Development Department got the green light to begin general plan amendment study of Spieker Senior Development Partner’s congregate care/senior housing development (CCSHD) in unincorporated Walnut Creek, at the end of Seven Hills Ranch Road.

The project is regulated by the State of California Department of Social Services to provide lifetime occupancy and support services, instead of ownership interests.

The development consists of two independent living units providing about 351 total units and a health care center with 100 total units – 50 units for skilled nursing, 20 units for memory care and 30 units for assisted living.

The proposed development would provide a clubhouse, recreation building, parking, and maintenance buildings.

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County Supervisors pass local emergency proclamation and countywide curfew order beginning tonight at 8 p.m. due to civil unrest

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Applies to everyone; but cities can have more stringent terms and stricter time limits – Antioch’s curfew begins at 6:00 p.m.

By Susan Shiu, Director, Office of Communications and Media, Contra Costa County

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a proclamation of local emergency, Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020, in response to civil disturbances after peaceful protests in the county following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The Board also adopted an order imposing a curfew in Contra Costa County due to civil unrest to begin Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 8:00 pm. The curfew requires people in the county to stay indoors from 8:00 pm until 5:00 am the following day, until further notice.

“These are challenging times. The sorrow and pain that have filled our hearts here in our Bay Area home cannot be denied. The need and right to protest and be heard are ones that we all support,” said Supervisor Candace Andersen, chair of the county Board of Supervisors. “Today’s emergency proclamation and curfew order will help the county respond to looting, vandalism and any violence that should not be part of peaceful protests. That we do not support, as they only hurt our communities. We want peaceful protests, and we want all members of the public to be safe.”

The proclamation states that “Conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property, including to public facilities, have arisen within the County, caused by civil unrest, commencing in the County on or about May 31, 2020. Civil unrest in the form of riots and looting have arisen from protests in response to the tragic death of an unarmed man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being detained by a police officer. The majority of protestors have acted peacefully and lawfully. But some protests throughout the nation, including in cities such as Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, have given rise to injuries, looting, and property destruction.”

“Mr. Floyd tragically died just over a week ago. We recognize the importance of peaceful protests,” said County Administrator David J. Twa, who serves as the Administrator of Emergency Services. “We also want to emphasize the need for residents to stay home in the evenings and at night to stay safe. Our job is to protect lives, all lives. We want all people to stay safe during these difficult times.”

In response to a question about the jurisdiction of the order and whether it only applies to unincorporated areas in the county outside city limits, Shiu responded, “The Order provides that, ‘In the event that the terms of the County’s curfew order are more stringent (e.g. that the start time is earlier or the end time is later) than any city’s curfew order within the County, the County’s curfew order will apply within that city and supersede the city’s order to that extent.’ And if a city’s order on time is stricter, the city’s stricter curfew time will be in place.”

See Emergency Order of Curfew.

EMERGENCY ORDER IMPOSING A CURFEW WITHIN THE COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA DUE TO CIVIL UNREST

WHEREAS, on June 2, 2020, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Contra Costa proclaimed, pursuant to Government Code section 8630 and Contra Costa County Ordinance Code Chapter 42-2, the existence of a local emergency because the County of Contra Costa (“County”) is affected or likely to be affected by a public calamity due to conditions of disaster or of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property arising as a result of civil unrest in the County.

WHEREAS, Government Code Section 8634 authorizes the Board of Supervisors to promulgate orders and regulations necessary to provide for the protection of life or property during a local emergency, including imposing a curfew where necessary to preserve the public order and safety.

WHEREAS, there exists imminent danger to life and property during the hours of darkness, and it is especially difficult to preserve public safety during these hours.

WHEREAS, a curfew is necessary to preserve the public order and safety in the County.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

  1. A curfew is imposed Countywide, within the unincorporated and incorporated areas of the County.
  2. The hours of curfew are between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day.
  3. No person, except as set forth in Section 4, below, shall be upon a public street, avenue, boulevard, place, walkway, alley, park or any public area or unimproved private property within the boundaries of the County between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day.
  4. This Order shall not apply to peace officers, firefighters, and National Guard deployed to the area, individuals traveling to and from work, people experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter, and individuals seeking medical treatment.
  5. This Order shall be effective immediately as of June 2, 2020, commencing at 8:00 p.m. and extending until the termination of this Order. The County Administrator is authorized to amend and terminate this Order in accordance with Government Code Section 8634.

Any violation of this Order is a misdemeanor as provided by Government Code section 8665 and any applicable state or local law, and violators may be subject to immediate arrest.     In the event that the terms of the County’s curfew order are more stringent (e.g., that the start time is earlier or the end time is later) than any city’s curfew order within the County, the County’s curfew order will apply within that city and supersede the city’s order to that extent.

Dated: June 2, 2020

See Proclamation of Local Emergency (Resolution No. 2020/155).

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS RESOLUTION PROCLAIMING EXISTENCE OF A LOCAL EMERGENCY Resolution No. 2020/155

IN THE MATTER OF Proclaiming the Existence of a Local Emergency (Gov. Code, § 8630)

The Board of Supervisors of Contra Costa County RESOLVES as follows:

Contra Costa County Ordinance Code Chapter 42-2 empowers the Board of Supervisors to proclaim the existence or threatened existence of a local emergency when the County is affected or likely to be affected by a public calamity.

The Board of Supervisors has been requested by the Director of Emergency Services of the County to proclaim the existence of a local emergency therein.

The Board of Supervisors finds as follows:

  1. Conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property, including to public facilities, have arisen within the County, caused by civil unrest, commencing in the County on or about May 31, 2020. Civil unrest in the form of riots and looting have arisen from protests in response to the tragic death of an unarmed man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being detained by a police officer. The majority of protestors have acted peacefully and lawfully. But some protests throughout the nation, including in cities such as Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, have given rise to injuries, looting, and property destruction.
  2. These conditions, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of this County, and will require the combined forces of other political subdivisions to combat.
  3. These conditions fit the circumstances described in Government Code section 8558.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY PROCLAIMED that a local emergency now exists throughout the County; and

IT IS FURTHER PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED that, during the existence of the local emergency, the powers, functions, and duties of the emergency organization of this County shall be those prescribed by state law, and by ordinances and resolutions of this County, and by the County of Contra Costa Emergency Operations Plan, as approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 16, 2015.

PASSED on June 2, 2020, on a unanimous 5-0 vote.

ATTEST: David J. Twa, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors and County Administrator

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Sheriff’s Marine Patrol continues search for Delta boater missing since Thursday morning

Friday, May 29th, 2020

Photo by CCCSheriff.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County, Office of the Sheriff

A search for a missing boater is continuing this morning by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Marine Patrol Unit.

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, at about 10:30 in the morning, the Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing boater who had gone into the waters in the San Joaquin River, north of Webb Tract.

The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit responded and were assisted by Solano County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Umut Felik, a 27-year-old man from San Francisco, was swimming when he apparently had trouble staying above the water. At one point he went underwater and did not resurface. His friends on a boat went into the water to search for him but were not able to find him. They reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

A search of the area with a sonar was suspended at 8 PM. Felik was not located.

Anyone with any information on this incident to asked to contact the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit at (925) 427-8507.

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Contra Costa Sheriff Livingston calls $0 bail “irresponsible”, explains Brentwood machete man case

Monday, April 20th, 2020

Suspect Adam Ortega with machete on Brentwood residents’ porch, Sat. morning April 11, 2020. Sheriff Livingston’s badge. Herald file photos.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

35-year-old Adam Ortega, a transient in Brentwood, was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility at about 10 AM on Friday, April 17, 2020. He was booked for the offenses requested by the Brentwood police, possession of a dangerous weapon and probation violation. (See related articles, here, here and here)

Because of the Judicial Council of California’s mandatory emergency rule of zero bail for misdemeanors and non-violent/non-serious felonies, both of the alleged offenses committed by Ortega were zero bail. He was later cite released. (See related article)

“I like most California Sheriffs believe the Judicial Council’s decision to implement $0 bail for a wide range of criminal offenses was irresponsible, unnecessary and an overreaction,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “A state-wide solution to local issues is almost never good policy – that is certainly the case here. People who commit offenses against others should be held accountable, COVID-19 or not.”

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Sheriff’s Office seeks witnesses in Tuesday vehicle rollover ejection crash on Kirker Pass Road

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Emergency responders at the scene of the rollover crash on Kirker Pass Road, Tues., Feb. 11, 2020. Screenshots from Bay News Video by Art Ray.

Domestic violence related; suspect arrested

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at about 3:24 PM, the California Highway Patrol received a call of a rollover vehicle accident in the area of Kirker Pass Road and Hess Road near Concord.

During the initial CHP investigation, it was discovered that the cause of the accident was apparently domestic-related. The Office of the Sheriff responded to the location and started an investigation.

Deputy Sheriffs found the incident involved a woman and a man who were in a previous relationship. The woman and two others were driving in a tan colored 2004 Chevy Tahoe SUV. The suspect, who was in a white colored 2015 Mercedes Benz, followed behind and later pulled in front of the victim’s car causing her to lose control and flip over an embankment.

The driver of the Chevy Tahoe, who was ejected from the vehicle according to ConFire personnel, was taken to a local hospital and is said to be in critical condition. According to the CHP many vehicles pulled over and passersby helped turn the vehicle onto its side. One of the other occupants, a little girl, was treated and released from the hospital. The last occupant of the SUV was uninjured.

The driver of the other vehicle was later arrested by Deputy Sheriffs. He is identified as 28-year-old Alejandro Arriaga of Concord. He was later booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one felony count of child cruelty. Arriaga is being held in lieu of $190,000 bail.

Anyone with any information on this case or who might have witnessed it is asked to contact detectives at (925) 313-2600. Tips could be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Coroner’s Inquest jury determines Antioch man’s in-custody death was by natural causes

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston announces that a Coroner’s Jury has reached a finding in the March 7, 2019 death of 65-year-old Leartis Johnson of Antioch at the Martinez Detention Facility. The finding of the jury is that the death is natural causes. (See related article)

The Coroner’s Jury reached the 12-0 verdict after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officer, Matthew Guichard.

Johnson was originally booked into the MDF on May 16, 2018 by the BART police. His original charges included attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery.

A Coroner’s Inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner Livingston convenes in all fatal incidents involving police officers, is a public hearing, during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident, suicide, natural causes or at the hands of another person, other than by accident.

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