A group of progressive prosecutors has asked the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to audit the disciplinary practices at the Sheriff’s Office and increase outside oversight of misconduct after KTVU first reported that the sheriff wrote a letter to staff about his disdain for a judge sentencing one of his former deputies to six years in prison after killing a man. 

“Sheriff [David] Livingston’s comments are abhorrent and indicate his belief that deputies who kill are above the law,” said Cristine Soto DeBerry, founder and director of the Prosecutors Alliance of California, which sent the letter on Monday.

“Police have wide latitude to use force, but when they unnecessarily kill they must be held accountable just like anyone else in our community,” DeBerry continued. “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.”

In addition, DeBerry also told the supervisors that she and her colleagues find it very concerning that under Livingston, the Internal Affairs investigation cleared Hall from any wrongdoing. Plus, she wrote, if the sheriff is clearing deputies in cases where their use of force was criminal, “that too raises serious questions about the sheriff’s commitment to public safety and accountability.”