Tags: california | prosecutor | need | looting

California DA Requires 'Need' Be Considered When Prosecuting Looting

looting stores
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 02 September 2020 10:10 PM

A California district attorney has told her subordinates to consider whether looting was done “for financial gain or personal need” in deciding whether to prosecute a case, a local publication has reported.

The policy, which also requires prosecutors to consider four other factors, including whether the business looted was open or closed at the time, was instituted by Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton as a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which began in March, her spokesman told EastCountyToday.net. However, the spokesman told snopes.com the policy has been in place since June.

It came to light this week after EastCountyToday.net reported that the mayor of Antioch, California, railed against the order.

“When I read the policy, it was disturbing,” Mayor Sean Wright said. “I understand the difference between protesting and looting. Peaceful protesting is okay, looting is not. For the District Attorney to put out that kind of plan is irresponsible and where do you exactly draw the line on need because these are people’s businesses that are being impacted and livelihoods that are being destroyed.”

Becton is the first woman and African American to be elected district attorney in Contra Costa county – located to the east and north of Oakland. She was a judge in the county for 22 years before being elected in 2017.

She charged a local couple in July with a hate crime for painting over a “Black Lives Matter” mural on Independence Day.

Besides determining need and if the establishment was open or closed, the looting policy asks prosecutors to consider how the accused entered the business, the “nature/quantity/value of the goods targeted,” and if another law could be substituted for looting.

“It’s reckless for the district attorney’s office to have this type of policy because it hurts the community, local business and business owners,” Antioch Police Officers Association President Steve Aiello told EastCountyToday. “It shows the district attorney’s office is picking and choosing the types of crimes it will prosecute versus just following the laws on the books.

“At what point, does our district attorney’s office advocate for the victims. If it’s not the district attorney’s office, who then becomes the advocate and safety net for the victims and ensuring restitution is made.”

Prosecutor’s office spokesman Scott Alonso was incensed when asked if Becton was “racially biased.”

“No, there are no racial filing guidelines or standards for our Office,” Alonso said.  “The question is frankly shocking and I am not sure where that is coming from. I can’t imagine any prosecutor in the country answering yes to that question. 

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A California district attorney has told her subordinates to consider whether looting was done "for financial gain or personal need" in deciding whether to prosecute a case, a local publication has reported...
california, prosecutor, need, looting
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2020-10-02
Wednesday, 02 September 2020 10:10 PM
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