Two men accused of mutilation and arson in the death of a 25-year-old woman will not face prosecution because of a racist text messaging scandal involving Antioch police.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office dropped the felony charges against Ashton Montalvo and Deangelo Laraye Boone last week.
“After thoroughly reviewing the officers' role in this case, applying relevant legal principles, and considering ethical responsibilities, the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office no longer has confidence in the integrity of this prosecution," the DA's office said. That’s because the case "relied heavily on the investigative work of Antioch Police Officers who are associated with racist text communications."
The family of the victim, Mykaella Sharlman, is devastated. They believe evidence such as surveillance video clearly implicates Boone and Montalvo.
“My sympathies are absolutely with the family,” said Contra Costa Assistant District Attorney Annie Esposito. The DA’s Office has said it would consider prosecution if new evidence comes to light.
The texting scandal was first revealed in a 14-page report released by the District Attorney’s Office.
Cops on the text exchange used the N-word to refer to Black people and admitted to manufacturing evidence and brutalizing suspects. One officer said he “field goal kicked” a man in the head and “tried to knock him unconscious.” In another exchange, officers talked about shooting Antioch’s Black mayor.
At least 45 officers – or half of the police department – are involved in the scandal. The Antioch Police Department is currently under investigation by the FBI and the Contra Costa County District's Attorney's Office and is facing three lawsuits.