Antioch and Pittsburg Police Officers Charged with Public Corruption Crimes 

Crimes ranging from defrauding employers to using excessive force

Part of the FBI’s mission is to investigate violations of federal law by public officials at the federal, state, and local levels of government—this includes city police officers if they engage in criminal activities.  

This summer, as the result of an FBI investigation, a combination of 10 current and former officers and employees from the Antioch and Pittsburg (California) police departments were charged with multiple crimes, ranging from defrauding their employers to using excessive force and color of law violations.  

“This case is one of the highest priorities for the San Francisco Field Office,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. “Law enforcement officers bear a tremendous responsibility to police our communities lawfully in keeping with the Constitution, and we must always be true to that guiding principle...The citizens of our communities deserve law enforcement personnel who practice what they enforce. Any breach to the public’s trust is absolutely unacceptable.” 

Four separate indictments were issued on August 17, 2023. In the first indictment, referred to as the “college degree benefits fraud indictment,” six defendants allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to defraud Antioch and Pittsburg police departments out of taxpayer dollars by claiming they had earned college credits toward degrees when, instead, they paid others to attend classes and take exams for them.

In June of 2019, an officer of the Pittsburg Police Department allegedly used a person identified as “Individual 1” to complete multiple college courses on his behalf that were credited toward the officer’s Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Once the officer allegedly received a degree, they applied for and received reimbursements and pay increases from the Pittsburg Police Department. The same officer allegedly promoted the services of Individual 1. Five other members of the police departments ended up paying Individual 1 to complete similar coursework towards their degrees. As with the initial officer, they also applied for reimbursements and pay increases from their law enforcement employer.  

In the second indictment, two officers from the Antioch Police Department allegedly conspired to illegally distribute anabolic steroids to an unnamed customer. One of the officers allegedly possessed the drugs, and the other officer attempted to delete incriminating evidence from their cell phone before handing it over to law enforcement for investigation. 

In the third indictment, a defendant from the Antioch Police Department received three charges, two involving alleged interference with a wiretap investigation, and the third involving the illegal seizure and destruction of a telephone. On March 23, 2021, the defendant was assigned to a wire room where they were supposed to monitor communications between a target and others who contacted the target by telephone. The defendant allegedly used his personal cellphone to call a target, covering up any evidence of the call. On May 6, 2021, the defendant was present when another officer used a deployed a police dog while making an arrest. When the defendant saw a witness recording the aftermath of the incident on a cell phone, they allegedly seized and destroyed it. 

The fourth indictment charges three Antioch police officers with conspiracy against rights and deprivation of rights under color of law. The indictment describes several incidents of excessive force, among others. Allegedly, the defendants deployed excessive force as “punishment” to subjects “beyond any punishment appropriated imposed by the criminal justice system.”   

For example, on August 24, 2021, one of the defendants, along with Antioch police officers, executed a search warrant at a residence, located a subject inside a locked bedroom holding a video game controller with a video game on a television screen. When the defendant and other officers entered the room, the subject raised his hands. The officers surrounded the subject, and while one of the officers held down the subject’s arm to arrest him, the defendant deployed the 40mm less lethal launcher, injuring the subject.  

“Color of law violations strike at the very heart of our justice system. They undermine public confidence in the law and law enforcement and erode the fundamental right of our citizens,” said Tripp.  

The indictment includes several other incidents of excessive force as well as the collection and sharing of pictures and munitions to memorialize the acts of violence. 

Note that an indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

“The citizens of our communities deserve law enforcement personnel who practice what they enforce. Any breach to the public’s trust is absolutely unacceptable.”

Robert K. Tripp, special agent in charge, FBI San Francisco