From: Contra Costa Times
A Walnut Creek police detective has been charged with holding a couple and one of their female relatives at gunpoint at a Concord roadblock last year.
Details of the case against Detective Theodore Chang are sketchy because the officer, the victims, prosecutors and a defense attorney all declined to talk about it. District Attorney Robert Kochly issued only a brief statement about the charges. “This is an incident that occurred while the officer was on duty, and it arose from a citizen’s complaint to the police department,” he said. “We take this seriously.”
The District Attorney’s Office has charged Chang, 34, with three felony counts of false imprisonment, enhancements of using a deadly weapon and one misdemeanor count of exhibiting a firearm. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. He pleaded not guilty last month to the charges, which were filed in February.
The charges against Chang stem from a Dec. 17 incident involving Chang, John and Kathryn Sheehan and Joyce Clark, a relative of the couple, according to the criminal complaint. Law enforcement sources say Chang was helping Concord police direct traffic at a roadblock when Chang got into a dispute with the three, who were occupying a car. It is unclear who was driving. Chang drew his gun and aimed it at the driver, law enforcement sources say.
Chang is being represented by Pleasant Hill-based defense attorney Michael Rains, who often defends police officers and whose current clients include Barry Bonds. His clients also included an officer involved in the Oakland “Riders” police corruption case and the San Francisco police officer whose parody video “Police Gone Wild” stirred controversy last year.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office declined a request to make redacted copies of police reports about the Chang incident available to the public. Court records do not include any record of police arresting Chang.
Prosecutors charged him after a Walnut Creek police lieutenant submitted reports to the District Attorney’s Office. Deputy district attorney Mark Peterson, who filed the charges, did not return several calls from the Times seeking information. The prosecutor handling the case also declined to comment. Walnut Creek Police Chief Thomas Soberanes did not return several calls over the course of a week from the Times. The Sheehans, who were contacted last week, also would not discuss the case. Chang, who is on administrative leave, declined to comment, and his attorney did not return several calls from the Times.
Chang is scheduled to appear in Superior Court Thursday in Martinez.