Antioch, Pittsburg cops in court on charges of conspiracy and accepting bribes, including tequila

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Bay Area cops in court on charges of conspiracy, accepting bribes
Five Antioch and Pittsburg police officers appeared in court on Wednesday to be arraigned on charges of conspiracy and bribery.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Five East Bay police officers appeared in a Contra Costa County courtroom on Wednesday to be arraigned on charges of conspiracy and bribery. None entered a plea, instead waiving their rights to a speedy trial.

"The defense attorney may advised their client that, in the interest of the case, it would give the defense more time to prepare for the case if they waive those rights. And that's exactly what happened today," says Ted Asregadoo, Public Information Officer with the Contra Cost County District Attorney's Office.

The Contra Costa County DA's office filed charges against the five officers for allegedly engaging in criminal conspiracy and accepting bribes for voiding citations of their friends.

"The charges set forth in these complaints allege offenses of public corruption," Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement.

MORE: 10 Pittsburg, Antioch police officers charged in civil rights, corruption probe: Authorities

"I've seen the look on some their faces, and they looked like they are ashamed, and they looked like they didn't want to be there, of course. And I feel like it's time. It's time for this change to happen. This needs to happen. They need to have their day in court," says Frank Sterling, Jr., with the group Reimagine Antioch.

He is one of several community activists who have regularly attending the court hearings related to the Antioch police texting scandal.

Four officers are from the Antioch Police Department: Officer Timothy Manly-Williams, Officer Calvin Prieto, Officer Andrea Rodriguez and Officer Ben Padilla. Officer Juan Ernesto Mejia-Orozco is with Pittsburg PD.

"Whether they are going to prove their innocence, or prove their guilt, it's a process that we need to pay attention to," says Sterling.

MORE: More federal indictments possible in Antioch, Pittsburg PD FBI investigation, officials say

Officer Manly-Williams and his attorney declined to be interviewed. But court documents show that between 2020 and 2021, Officer Manly-Williams was allegedly involved in trying to help clear a speeding tickets. In one instance, to prevent Officer Rodriguez from appearing in court regarding a speeding ticket, in exchange for her getting a bottle of tequila.

Officer Manly-Williams is also one of the 10 officers indicted in August in the FBI's ongoing investigation into the Antioch and Pittsburg police departments.

"There has been no accountability in Antioch for decades. And this is the result of having people with a lot of power not being respectful of the communities they are supposed to serve," says Robert Collins, also a community activist. He is the stepfather of Angelo Quinto, who died in police custody in December 2020.

"It is deeply troubling for society as a whole. And deeply troubling for the Antioch community. And we are just trying to shed light on it," says Collins.

Several of the other officers and their attorneys also declined comment.

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