Families of individuals who lost their lives in officer-involved shootings across Contra Costa County called on the sheriff to resign Tuesday after statements he made in a letter regarding the sentencing of a Danville officer involved in a fatal shooting.
These families along with law enforcement accountability groups say the recent remarks made by Sheriff David Livingston on the subject of former Officer Andrew Hall were unacceptable and in their opinion grounds for removal from office.
The groups gathered for a protest Tuesday morning at the sheriff's headquarters in Martinez.
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While some are calling for the sheriff's resignation, others simply want an apology. Either way, the consensus among those outside Livingston's office is his remarks were inappropriate and insensitive.
According to organizers of the rally, Livingston wrote a letter reacting to Hall's recent conviction, stating Hall served with "honor and distinction" and was forced to use deadly force during the killing of Laudemer Arboleda. Livingston also stated "I have your backs" to all his deputies.
Earlier this month, Hall was sentenced to six years in state prison by a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge in Martinez in Arboleda's death in 2018.
Hall must spend at least 85% of his sentence, or 5.1 years, in prison before being eligible for parole.
In a statement, Livingston compared Contra Costa County's department to two other California cities and said the following:
“The so-called 'Prosecutors Alliance' committee is made up of only four of the 58 DAs in the state. Contra Costa is not San Francisco or Los Angeles where two of their far-leftwing founding members serve. Instead of playing politics here, they should do their job and prosecute offenders and start caring about crime victims for once.”
Families say they are concerned not only about the insensitive nature of Livingston's remarks as they relate to the victims but also what his words say about supporting law enforcement officers regardless of being convicted in a court of law.
"We are outraged. We want Sheriff Livingston to resign, want him recalled," said Jennifer Leong. "He cannot lead this community."
Leong, the sister of Arboleda, said she was sickened by the memo the sheriff sent to his staff after the sentencing.
"He clearly said that he was behind the officers who commit these crimes, and it’s a slap in the face to our families, to the loved ones that we’ve lost unjustly, and it gives us no confidence that our investigations will be conducted fairly, objectively, transparently or hold the people involved accountable," Bella Quinto Collins said.
Families in attendance also spoke about the upcoming election and how they are hoping for a new sheriff.
Livingston did not immediately respond to requests for comment about his letter.