On Saturday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued the following statement in letter form to City of Antioch residents.
Dear Antioch Residents:
“The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.” Recently, Sean Wright, the Mayor of Antioch has made repeated distorted untruths about the District Attorney office policies, and about my record as your District Attorney. To have an elected official, make distorted truths, and then hide his head in the sand and refuse to learn the true facts is troubling to say the least. I take transparency and accountability very seriously, as any elected official should.
Facts matter. First, the Mayor bought a political smear hit piece from a biased website about looting. He never reached out to me to find out what my office guidelines actually require. The guidelines do not prohibit the filing of any looting case – in fact, just recently, we filed a felony looting case. The truth is, my office guidelines assist prosecutors in making the distinction between thefts and burglaries that merely happen while we are in the pandemic, and lootings which are substantially motivated by a state of emergency. The guidelines are on the District Attorney website. I encourage you to read them.
Second, your mayor attacked our office policies regarding low-level, stand alone drug cases. What he fails to mention is that initially these cases are referred to the behavioral health care system for treatment. Please do not forget the failed policies of the War on Drugs. Arresting citizens for possession of small amounts of drugs, taking them to jail, and releasing them without treatment ensures that these individuals will soon be arrested again, and so the cycle continues. The aim of my office policy is to stop chronic patterns of arrest, to connect individuals to behavioral health services, to reduce the burden on the court system and law enforcement, and to allow prosecutors to focus on more serious and violent crimes. Of course repeat offenders can be charged, diverted or suffer additional consequences. As the chief law enforcement officer for the county, I take my oath seriously to protect the public. However, clogging our criminal justice system with low-level crimes does not deter crime nor find equitable solutions for our community. I am focused on common-sense solutions that are fair and equitable, and good for the entire community.
Here are some items to keep in mind during this election season. We cannot let lies get in the way of the truth, even during campaign season. The mayor is making this a political attack against me in order to bolster his campaign for re-election, and to take swipes at his East Bay Times endorsed opponent, Lamar Thorpe. Stand on our own record Mr. Mayor, and please stop trying to bolster your platform by making distorted claims about our office policies. During the election season, we hear from elected officials about their vision for their community. Unfortunately, despite his message of unifying the community, your Mayor is trying to divide Antioch and use our office as a foil and create a controversy when none exists. Examine the facts. Facts matter.
District Attorney, Contra Costa County