2 Pittsburg officers, multiple deputies up for police decertification; no Antioch officers on list

Two Pittsburg police officers and six deputies spanning two departments in the East Bay are now on the state's list to be possibly never work in law enforcement again. And as of Wednesday, despite a racist text scandal, no officers from the Antioch Police Department were on the roster.

There is no set schedule for when officers must be placed on POST's decertification list. But police departments must now alert Peace Officer Standards and Training if they are aware of allegations of serious officer misconduct. 

POST is state agency vested with the power of setting standards and providing training for peace officers in California. 

The two Pittsburg officers are Patrick Berhan, who left the department during an investigation into his alleged "egregious or repeated acts that violate the law," and Armando Montalvo, who is being criminally charged. 

Berhan is one of Pittsburg officers suspected of bumping up his paycheck with improperly obtained college degrees, the Bay Area News Group reported. 

This college-degree scam kicked off the now wide-ranging investigation into at least a dozen Antioch and Pittsburg police officers now suspected of a multitude of crimes. The other officer accused in this scam was Ernesto Mejia, but as of Wednesday, he was not on POST's decertification list. 

Also of note, no Antioch officers were on POST's decertification list as of Wednesday.

Montalvo is on the list because in 2022, the Contra Costa District Attorney charged him with four felonies for allegedly possessing two AR-15 rifles and selling them to two people. 

The charging documents allege the transactions happened in November 2019, but authorities told the Bay Area News Group the crimes weren’t discovered until last year when Antioch and Pittsburg officers came under investigation for alleged civil rights violations involving uses of force.

Montalvo resigned from the department on July 8, 2022. 

In terms of sheriff's deputies in the East Bay, there are currently two Contra Costa County and four Alameda County sheriff's deputies up for decertification. 

Former Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Buckley was put on POST's list in July. Last summer, he was fired and arrested for allegedly falsifying reports to steal AR-15s from a court evidence locker. 

There is only one other Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy on the list: Erick Rossi who was sentenced to three years probation in December 2022 after a sexual encounter in Livermore. 

In Alameda County, former deputy Devin Williams was placed on POST's list after he was charged with murdering his girlfriend and her husband in Dublin last fall. He has since pleaded not guilty. 

Alameda County sheriff's deputies Sheri Baughman and Amanda Bracamontes are now up for decertification after the District Attorney charged them in June with are charged with falsification of records in connection with the suicide of Vinetta Martin at Santa Rita Jail. 

The DA noted both deputies were supposed to conduct direct visual observation checks every 30 minutes, which they did not and then they allegedly doctored the logs to make it seem like they did. They have pleaded not guilty. 

And Alameda County Sheriff's deputy Javier Manzo is on the list because he was deemed ineligible because of a particular government code, which could include being convicted of an offense that would be a crime in California or if he had been discharged from the military for committing an offense. 

What the alleged offense is has not been made clear. The sheriff's office said that Manzo is appealing his decertification, and he is not currently serving in a sworn capacity during his appeal, the sheriff's office said. 

All the officers have been temporarily suspended, which means they can argue their case before a board to try to overturn the penalty. 

As of Wednesday, there were a total of 80 officers on the list, up from 20 four months ago. 

POST estimated that up to 3,500 police officer in California, about 4%, could be decertified each year.