A decision made Oct. 20 by the district attorney not to charge a Long Beach councilmember for driving under the influence on June has raised questions and concern within the community, including a recall effort.
Last week the Los Angeles District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, decided not to charge District 2 Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce in a domestic violence allegation or a driving under the influence investigation in a public integrity case.
Many Long Beach residents have called for her resignation as they believe the councilmember has exhibited “unethical” behavior, and has not been transparent about what happened that night. A committee supporting the recall was created shortly after information on that night was made public.
“While Pearce has escaped charges stemming from her behavior during the hours after midnight on June 3, 2017, we now know more than enough to justify a collective call by the civic leaders of Long Beach for Pearce’s resignation,” said Ian Patton, a consultant for the committee to recall Jeannine Pearce. “We’re in a fundraising mode right now, we need approximately 6,500 signatures on the recall petition. Our group feels there’s enough evidence at this point for people to call on her to resign, there’s nothing acceptable at this point other than resignation.”
California Highway Patrol Officers responded to a call from Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce on June 3 to find her car on the shoulder of the 710 freeway. CHP found Pearce and her then chief-of-staff, Devin Cotter, after an argument between the two led to a physical confrontation.
Pearce was driving home from a concert she and Cotter had attended earlier that evening where the two consumed alcohol. Additionally, Cotter has made domestic violence allegations against Pearce. The council member’s office did not return a request for comment by the time of publication.
“I know my truth, and I know one night does not define me,” Pearce said in a statement to the press. “It made me stronger and I am painfully better for it.”
According to a charge evaluation worksheet from the district attorney’s office, Pearce admitted to drinking. That night she registered a 0.06 percent blood alcohol content during a breathalyzer test. She was not arrested as a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content is the minimum to be considered legally impaired.
The district attorney’s office cited doubts as to whether the Preliminary Alcohol Screening device was accurate and reliable.
“The device used did not comply with Title-17 CCR, as it was not checked every ten days while in service,” the charge document said. “Additional Intoxilyzer tests would have lent some certainty about that [preliminary alcohol screening] result.”
The domestic violence claim against Pearce were also determined to be self defense by the district attorney’s office.
“The prosecution cannot prove that the force suspect Pearce used was not appropriate for the situations that she was facing at the time.”