Contra Costa and Alameda County prosecutors and public defenders are reviewing cases involving three Dublin-area California Highway Patrol officers currently under investigation for allegedly sharing nude photos of DUI suspects, officials said Thursday.
Attorneys are reviewing both current and closed cases involving CHP officers Sean Harrington, Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons to determine whether they should be revisited or dismissed, officials said.
Contra Costa County prosecutors said Thursday that a decision has not yet been made about whether to charge any of the officers.
Robin Lipetzky, the county's Public Defender, said that she has asked the district attorney's office for a list of cases involving the three officers for review but has not yet received it. She said her office is also working on launching its own review of cases involving any of the accused officers.
"I think (the CHP) should be investigating and I think other police departments should be on notice to conduct investigations because this is something that could go beyond the CHP," Lipetzky said.
CHP Golden Gate division chief Avery Browne denounced the explicit photo-sharing during a news conference on Saturday, saying that he believes the alleged misconduct did not go beyond the Dublin-area CHP office.
Both the Alameda County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick and county Public Defender Brendon Woods also said Thursday that their offices are reviewing cases in which the three officers are involved.
"We entrust police officers with an enormous amount of power. And for them to abuse that power totally undermines their credibility," Woods said in an email.
"The audacity of these officers is appalling. If they were willing to break the law in order to steal naked pictures of unsuspecting women, imagine what other acts they could have been engaged in," Woods said in the email. "Their conduct brings into question any investigation or arrest they were ever involved with."
The nude photo-sharing scandal was uncovered earlier this month after a 23-year-old San Ramon woman who had been arrested for DUI in August alleged that Harrington sent nude and semi-nude photos from her cell phone to his own phone while she was in custody, according to court documents.
A search warrant was served at Harrington's Martinez home and a Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office investigator is recommending he be charged with felony computer theft, according to the search warrant affidavit. According to court records, Harrington shared explicit photos from another woman arrested on suspicion of DUI with Hazelwood and Simmons.
Harrington told the investigator that the practice of sharing female arrestees' nude photos was not uncommon in the Dublin-area CHP office and that he first learned of the practice while working at a CHP office in Los Angeles, search warrant records show.
Harrington has been placed on paid administrative leave while Hazelwood is still at work but has been assigned to administrative duties, according to CHP spokeswoman Officer Dianna McDermott. Simmons is still considered a witness in the investigation and has not been pulled from normal duties.