DA charges five Antioch, Pittsburg officers with obstruction of justice, bribery for fixing traffic tickets

Face six complaints; three APD personnel arrested Thursday now on unpaid leave

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton announced Friday, August 18, 2023, the filing of charges against five officers who engaged in a criminal conspiracy and accepted bribes for voiding the citations of friends while serving as sworn police officers for the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments.

“The charges set forth in these complaints allege offenses of public corruption,” said District Attorney Becton. “As District Attorney for Contra Costa County, my role is to seek justice and work on solutions to improve our communities. The legal action we’ve taken here today reflects that commitment.”

In all, six complaints were filed in Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa. The alleged offenses center on fixing traffic violations of associates of sworn peace officers. The defendants are: former Antioch officer Timothy Manly Williams and current officers Calvin Prieto, Andrea Rodriguez and Ben Padilla and former Pittsburg officer Juan Ernesto Mejia-Orozco.

On March 22, 2022, state and federal investigators obtained search warrants for the cell phones of a number of officers. During a forensic analysis of the phones, investigators uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing, which culminated in conspiracy to obstruct justice and bribery.

Timothy Manly-Williams also faces a federal criminal indictment related to violations that arose out of a joint DA/FBI investigation.

In addition to the criminal conduct, a large trove of overtly racist, sexist, and homophobic text messages was uncovered. The conduct of the officers has compromised a number of cases and triggered scrutiny under the California Racial Justice Act (PC 745).

As previously reported, Manly-Williams, who is no longer with APD, and Mejia-Orozco, were indicted on Wednesday and arrested Thursday following the FBI investigation, along with two current and two former Antioch officers as well as one current Antioch community service officer and one current and two former Pittsburg officers.

In a Friday evening email, Acting Antioch City Manager Kwame Reed wrote, “All staff members that received federal indictment have been placed on unpaid administrative leave.” They include Officers Morteza Amiri and Eric Allen Rombough and Community Service Officer Samantha Genoveva Peterson.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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