The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and every law enforcement agency in Contra Costa County follow the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incidents Protocol (“the Protocol”) to investigate all incidents when an officer or civilian is shot or dies during an encounter with law enforcement in Contra Costa County. In accordance with the Protocol, the District Attorney’s Office conducts an independent investigation to determine the potential criminal liability of the individuals involved. The standard of proof used to make this determination is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that an officer or civilian committed a crime in connection with the incident.
Pursuant to the Protocol, immediately after a shooting the involved law enforcement agency is required to notify the appropriate district attorney personnel. Once notified, trained and experienced members of the District Attorney’s Office respond to the scene and begin the criminal investigation. In addition, criminal investigators from the law enforcement agency involved in the incident and from the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, if different, respond to the scene as well. It is important to note that although these investigations happen simultaneously, each agency conducts its own independent investigation.
As part of the criminal investigation, law enforcement officers and civilians who witnessed the incident may be interviewed, evidence is collected at the scene and may be submitted to the county crime lab for testing and analysis, in addition to any other relevant investigative work necessary to complete the criminal investigation. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Crime Lab responds to every incident in Contra Costa County and is responsible for evidence collection at the scene of all shooting incidents.