Judge says Antioch police officers don't have to testify in Racial Justice Act hearing

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Sunday, August 27, 2023
Antioch police officers don't have to testify in CA hearing: judge
Superior Court Judge Court David Goldstein says APD officers subpoenaed to testify in the CA Racial Justice Act hearing do not have to take the stand.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Court David Goldstein says the Antioch police officers subpoenaed to testify in the California Racial Justice Act hearing, linked to the racist texting scandal, do not have to take the stand.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office conceded that bias was established in the case as evident in the racist texts, and argues the officers' testimones aren't necessary.

"Some of the text messages in this case, by a very small number of officers, are really horrific. And they shamed themselves," said attorney Michael Rains, who represents four of the officers who were subpoenaed.

"If the law says bias is established, that's what the law says. Then we only talk about the remedies available," Rains said.

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Some legal experts believe more federal indictments could be handed down against Antioch and Pittsburg police officers.

The California Racial Justice Act allows convictions to be overturned if racial bias was a factor.

"I am happy that we have another hearing to discuss the remedy stage," said attorney Carmela Caramagno.

Caramagno represents Terryon Pugh, 22, along with 22-year-old Trent Allen, 24-year-old Keyshawn McGee and 23-year-old Eric Windom for murder and attempted murder in an alleged gang-related shooting.

Pugh and Allen were both named in the texting scandal.

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Caramagno says the officers could still be subpoenaed in the next stage of the hearing.

"The fact that we had supervisory officers within the department, and we don't have any information that anybody involved in that text messaging stream, abided by the policies and procedures in the Antioch Police Department," Caramagno said.

Shirelle Cobbs is the mother of defendant Trent Allen. She joined a rally outside the courthouse after the decision came down.

"I don't think it's fair at all. (The officers) did a crime, and they should be in court," she said.

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Many in the crowd wanted the officers to take the stand.

"I think the idea of having the officers to confront, and be confronted, with what they have done, and also explain their actions, is important. It is important for the community to see that there isn't a two-tier justice system," said Adante Pointer, a prominent civil rights lawyer.

In the remedy phase, some of the options the judge has include reducing charges or dropping enhancements.

Brandi G is the mother of Marcel Hawkins, who was allegedly killed by the defendants. She also showed up to court.

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"They ambushed my baby and killed him," she said.

She is concerned about possible reductions in the charges the four could face as a result of the Racial Justice Act hearing. The four defendants have been charged but haven't been to trial.

The attorney representing the Contra Costa County D.A.'s office declined a request for comment. Both sides will back in court on Sept. 8.

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