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Decide tosses cost in opposition to Oakland police officer accused of bribery

OAKLAND — An Alameda County decide on Friday tossed one of many 5 fees in opposition to an Oakland police officer accused of bribing witnesses and later mendacity about it on the stand.

Decide Scott Patton threw out a cost of tried bribery of a witness in opposition to Phong Tran, whose case has represented an early check of Alameda County District Legal professional Pamela Worth’s new Public Accountability Unit and its work to analyze wrongdoings by legislation enforcement officers and public officers.

In hanging down the cost, Patton advised Tran’s statements extra carefully resembled common police work, relatively than something nefarious.

“That type of colloquy between a murder detective and a witness is simply not tried bribery of a witness,” Patton mentioned in a listening to Friday.

Nonetheless, Patton denied a movement by Tran’s lawyer to additionally dismiss the remaining 4 counts in opposition to the officer, together with a number of counts of perjury and bribery of a witness.

Prosecutors allege Tran paid an unhoused mom 1000’s of {dollars} to testify that she noticed the killer who shot Charles Butler Jr., 23, throughout a 2011 argument over a North Oakland parking spot. The alleged funds embody $5,000 given to the girl barely a half-hour after she completed testifying on the 2016 homicide trial, in line with testimony at a previous listening to.

The cost dismissed on Friday centered round one other girl’s statements in that very same case. Prosecutors claimed Tran providing to assist free the girl’s son — who had been jailed on unrelated theft fees — in change for her cooperation in figuring out a suspect in Butler’s dying. The lady, Theresa Anderson Downs, claimed Tran instructed her: “We may aid you with that, when you assist me with this. As a result of we are able to overlook a theft, however we can’t overlook a homicide.”

“It made me really feel actually indignant, as a result of I’m a mom, and my son was already in jail,” Anderson Downs testified at a June listening to. “I instructed him that’s one other mom’s son — that I can’t ship one other mom’s son to jail over one thing I didn’t see.”

After Friday’s listening to, Tran’s lawyer, Andrew Ganz, maintained in an announcement that “the District Legal professional has all-but conceded that the usual required for a jury to convict on this case can’t be met,” including that “the case ought to, and actually should, be dismissed in its entirety.”

The Alameda County District Legal professional’s Workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Tran is a veteran murder detective who has dealt with quite a few circumstances for OPD, a few of which are actually underneath evaluation. He stays on go away from OPD and was “quickly suspended” as an officer by a state fee overseeing requirements and coaching.

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