Alameda Co. DA files criminal charge against ex-prosecutor for interfering in police shooting case

Dan Noyes Image
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Alameda Co. DA files criminal charge against former prosecutor
Alameda County DA Pamela Price has filed a criminal charge against prosecutor Butch Ford, accusing him of interfering in a police shooting case.

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price has filed a criminal charge against one of her most vocal critics -- a prosecutor himself -- accusing him of interfering in a police shooting case. Price sent an email to her staff announcing the charges Monday at 5:08 p.m. But, the man charged in the case did not have official notice, until the I-Team's Dan Noyes got the criminal complaint from sources and texted it to him the following day.

Butch Ford received the Alameda County "Prosecutor of the Year" award just a few years ago and led the felony trial team. But after just two weeks in office, District Attorney Pamela Price placed Ford on administrative leave, and he went public at a rally April 10 on the steps of the Fallon Street courthouse in Oakland saying, "Pam Price has lost the mission of the DA's Office which is to speak on behalf of victims and for the people who don't have a voice."

Ford criticized Price for her charging decisions in the death of Jasper Wu during a freeway shooting. And now, Price has filed a misdemeanor charge against Ford: "Defending after public prosecution as the prosecutor." The case stems from the police shooting at the San Leandro Walmart in April 2020.

Workers accused Steven Taylor of trying to shoplift and he refused to put down a baseball bat when police arrived. Officer Jason Fletcher tased Taylor twice, and then shot and killed him. After then-District Attorney Nancy O'Malley filed a manslaughter charge against the officer, Judge Don Clay allowed the case to move forward but added, "I don't - under any circumstances, do I see 12 people saying that the evidence here is going to be sufficient to support a guilty verdict. I just don't see it."

Officer Fletcher's attorney, Michael Rains, told the I-Team, "The only right thing to do is to just to make sure that cops get a fair break."

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Butch Ford was in charge of assigning a prosecutor to the case, but in this declaration he provided for the defense, Ford describes his conversations in January with Kwixuan Maloof, a 22-year veteran of the San Francisco Public Defenders Office who Pamela Price brought in as her Assistant District Attorney.

Ford wrote, "Mr. Maloof told me... I don't give a damn what (Judge) Don Clay said... I came here to charge cops. They better be ready. They better Google me."

Ford wrote in another meeting, "I had explained to Mr. Maloof that Officer Fletcher had the same 'right of self-defense' that any charged defendant would have." Maloof answered, "If it were up to me, I would charge him with murder."

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"Everybody's entitled to their opinion," said Michael Rains. "But if their opinion is so strong, if their opinion is so strongly held that he can't give consideration to anything other than murder, murder, murder, he is not fit to prosecute the case under the law."

And that declaration is why Pamela Price filed the misdemeanor charge against Butch Ford. Ford now works for the San Francisco DA's Office. He texted us this afternoon, "Price's baseless allegation is an attempt to dissuade more people from speaking out or reporting her wrongful conduct to the County or to their own attorney. It's also an obvious attempt to distract the public from the negative coverage she and her administrative staff continue to receive. Like everything else she's done since January 3, this will backfire too. I've done nothing wrong and her clear abuse of authority doesn't change that."

For her part, Pamela Price did not respond to our request for an interview, but her office released a statement on her behalf: "It hurts everyone in our community when people who swear to uphold the law break it. Butch Ford broke the public trust and betrayed our office and the people of Alameda County. Fortunately, no one is above the law. Where appropriate, we will hold people accountable."

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