Oakland fire captain charged with possession of child pornography

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An Oakland Fire Department captain is in jail on $200,000 bond on charges of possessing child pornography. Richard Chew is accused of having downloaded and attempted to share hundreds of pictures of minors in sex acts.

Video from a neighbor's surveillance camera shows Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputies arresting the 58-year-old Richard Chew Wednesday at his home in Lafayette.

Investigators searched both his home on Harper Court and Station 15 on 27th Street, where he works, and reportedly found evidence on his computers.

Neighbor Humphrey Lau said his first reaction was shock but that, "Nowadays you don't know, you know?" He went on to say, "This is a quiet town, a peaceful town. This type of thing doesn't happen very often."

An angry Mayor Libby Schaaf says incidents like these make life tough for law abiding public servants.

"This is Oakland," she said. "We are tough, we will get through it, and we will hold this person fully accountable and ensure that we are weeding out anyone who does not deserve to be in public service."

Oakland fire captain arrested on suspicion of child porn
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A man was arrested Wednesday after police allegedly found child pornography on his computer and other storage devices during a search at his home in Lafayette.

Oakland fire department officials would not go on camera. But interim Chief Darin White issued a written statement:

"I am appalled by the disturbing nature of these charges. When we learned of the investigation, I immediately place the employee in question on administrative leave. If the allegations are true, this criminal behavior violates our community's standard of decency and breaches the standard of conduct we uphold in the Oakland Fire Department."

The mayor is promising even more.

"We will fully cooperate with Contra Costa," she said. "This person needs to be held fully accountable and removed from public service."

Chew made headlines in March after four people died in a San Pablo Avenue halfway house fire. In an email, Chew, along with other Oakland firefighters, warned fire inspectors the building had serious fire danger issues a few days before the deadly fire.

If convicted on all the charges, Chew faces up to five years in prison.

Anyone with any information about this case can contact Deputy District Attorney Jordan Sanders at (925) 957-8602.
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