DA candidate Knox challenged Becton’s failure to act on Antioch mayor’s DUI one day before press release issued about April 1 charges

Deputy D.A. Mary Knox, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and D.A. Diana Becton.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe has endorsed D.A. Diana Becton in her re-election campaign; she contributed to his anti-recall campaign

Becton’s campaign shoots back accusing Knox of asking for leniency on friend’s 2017 DUI charges; Knox’s campaign responds to accusation

By Allen D. Payton

On May 19, the Mary Knox for District Attorney campaign released a statement calling for action from District Attorney Diana Becton after more than 60 days had passed with no action on a DUI case involving a Becton campaign endorser, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe. The Herald was not made aware of Knox’s campaign press release until after receiving the press release from the DA’s office on Friday, May 20 announcing charges had been filed against Thorpe on April 1. (See related article)

In addition, on May 8 a Public Records Act request was submitted by Walnut Creek resident Scott Buckley asking for “details related to the recent DUI arrest of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and any correspondence details related to this case or prosecution of the case.” In a May 17 response to Buckley, Deputy District Attorney Sophea Nop denied the request for documents claiming they’re exempt, but also wrote, “Additionally, I have determined that there are no documents in either the physical or electronic file which constitutes correspondence between Lamar Thorpe and the District Attorney’s Office regarding this case.”

CCDA response to Buckley PRA. Source: Knox campaign (redacted by the Herald)

The Knox press release reads as follows:

“The Contra Costa Herald previously reported that District Attorney Diana Becton held a private meeting with Mayor Thorpe just three days following the incident.

‘It has now been more than 60 days since it was reported that Mayor Lamar Thorpe was arrested for a DUI and yet we have seen no action come from the D.A.’s office,’ said Jamie Patton, spokeswoman for Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox, candidate for District Attorney, on Thursday, May 19. ‘Contra Costa residents deserve safety from drivers who recklessly drive under the influence of alcohol. Everyone wants to see their District Attorney act with integrity and fairness, regardless of a person’s position of power or influence, yet D.A. Diana Becton met with Lamar Thorpe personally following the incident and we continue to see no action to prosecute. We believe D.A. Diana Becton must address this glaring dereliction of duty and take action on this rapidly-aging case.’

Knox has served as a Prosecutor in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office for 37 years and has extensive trial experience. Knox has earned the endorsement of every law enforcement agency in the County, as well as state and local organizations such as the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, PORAC, the California Narcotics Officers Association and the California Gang Investigators Association. Mary has advanced social justice while preventing crime in Contra Costa County.  She brought anti-bias training to the District Attorney’s Office and has fought to end discrimination against women in the Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office.

Mary Knox and the incumbent are the only candidates running for election as District Attorney.  Since this election will be won by a simple majority, the election of the next District Attorney of Contra Costa County will be determined by the votes cast on June 7, 2022.

March 2022: Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe Was Arrested For Driving Under The Influence. “On Saturday, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe confirmed in a video that he was arrested by the California Highway Patrol for a DUI. CHP later released a statement confirming the incident just before 11:00 am.” [East County Today, 3/19/22]

Becton Had “Private Meeting” With Thorpe Three Days After His Arrest, As District Attorney’s Office Was Investigating Incident. “Three days after Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was arrested for DUI and while the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office was investigating the incident, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, he held a private meeting with D.A. Diana Becton in her office in Martinez, according to reports of what was seen on her visitor sign-in log. Neither Becton, her staff nor Thorpe will say what the meeting was about or if anyone else, such as the city attorney or interim city manager, was in the room with them.” [Contra Costa Herald, 3/30/22]

Thorpe Later Confirmed He Had Met With Becton, Said She Had Requested “Cooperation In The Investigation.” “During a press conference, Wednesday morning, April 4, 2022 on Antioch Police Department staffing, hiring incentives and the investigation of officers by the FBI and Contra Costa D.A.’s office, Mayor Lamar Thorpe confirmed what had been previously reported, of a private meeting that he had with Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton on Tuesday, March 22, the day before the investigation occurred. He said Interim Antioch City Manager Con Johnson was also in attendance. The meeting was held just three days following Thorpe’s arrest for DUI and while he was under investigation by her department… Thorpe said the meeting was held by Becton to request his and Johnson’s cooperation in the investigation and they were to ‘keep confidentiality as this was an ongoing investigation’.” [Contra Costa Herald, 4/4/22]

As of May 2022, a search of Contra Costa County’s online case portal did not show any pending cases involving Thorpe. [cc-courts.org]

We mailed a criminal records search request regarding Thorpe to the Contra Costa County Superior court on May 11, 2022 and are awaiting a response.

Thorpe is listed as a campaign endorser on Becton’s campaign website.”


Source: Becton campaign.

Becton’s Campaign Manager Fires Back at Knox

The following was posted on Becton’s campaign Facebook page on Saturday, May 21 about Knox, in 2017, asking for leniency for a friend who was arrested for DUI:

“An important message from DA Becton’s Campaign Manager, Champagne Brown:

In her latest baseless attack against District Attorney Becton, Mary Knox claims to want accountability for ‘drivers who drive recklessly under the influence of alcohol.’ And yet, in 2017, Knox pled with a judge for leniency—and no accountability—for a colleague from the DA’s Office who drove under the influence of alcohol, crashing head on into another car and critically injuring the driver.

That person was George Driscoll, now the manager of the independent expenditure that has funneled nearly $250,000 from police associations to elect Mary Knox.

Source: Becton campaign.

DUI is the most common offense among California police officers (eastbaytimes.com)

Despite Knox’s letter to the judge pleading for leniency, George Driscoll was nevertheless convicted of a felony and removed from his duties as a law enforcement officer.

This is yet another example of Mary Knox’s hypocrisy and corruption—she is for ‘law and order,’ except when it comes to her well-connected friends and donors.

Source: Becton campaign

She cannot be trusted to hold people she owes—including police associations—accountable.

Contra Costa County deserves a District Attorney who is courageous enough to ensure the justice system works for everyone, not just the well connected.”

Knox Campaign Responds

In response to the accusation from Becton’s campaign, Knox’s campaign spokeswoman Upton wrote, “Ms. Becton’s latest attack on Mary Knox once again demonstrates her failure to acknowledge her conflict of interest inherent in the prosecution of Mayor Lamar Thorpe.  Mayor Thorpe has endorsed Ms. Becton’s political campaign, donated to Mayor Thorpe’s effort to stave off the recall campaign launched against him and met with Mayor Thorpe in her office just days after he was arrested, Ms. Becton should have recused herself from this prosecution following Mayor Thorpe’s arrest.

Mary Knox acted ethically in writing a letter to the judge presiding over the sentencing of a case that qualified for Veterans Court in Lassen County. A judge is required by law to consider whether a veteran’s military service contributed to the commission of the criminal offense, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as standard factors in mitigation in sentencing. In her letter, Ms. Knox described for the judge this veteran’s service to his country that resulted in awards, including a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, by President Obama and President Bush in a service career that spanned three decades with tremendous personal sacrifice.  Mary Knox properly provided the sentencing judge with information that he was required by law to consider in sentencing.”

the attachments to this post:

Becton campaign re Knox ltr DUI case

Buckley PRA Response (5-8-22) redacted by the Herald

Becton campaign re Knox DUI case 3

Becton campaign re Knox DUI case 1

MKnox LThorpe & DBecton

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