FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—September 13, 2021
Contact: Scott Alonso, 925-957-8638, office
Martinez, Calif. – The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office concludes that Concord Police Department Officers and a Sheriff’s deputy, acted lawfully in the 2019 in-custody death of Steven Hankins. The DA’s Office released a public report about the fatal incident today. No charges will be filed against any officer involved in this incident at a homeless shelter located at 2047 Arnold Industrial Way in Concord. The involved officers related to this criminal investigation were: Concord Police Department personnel - Lieutenant Sam Staten, Officers David Savage, David Greenfield, Raul Alvarado and Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Shields.
On February 8, 2019, at approximately 4:09 p.m. staff at a homeless shelter called emergency dispatch to report an individual, identified as Steven Hankins of Martinez, acting in an unpredictable and aggressive manner with staff and residents of the shelter. Hankins was believed to be under the influence of drugs when the emergency call was placed. Shelter staff reported that Hankins was becoming increasingly violent “punching the air and yelling.”
Concord Police officers arrived on the scene and found Hankins in the men’s restroom exhibiting symptoms consistent with objecting signs of drug intoxication. When officers tried to speak with Hankins and obtain medical assistance for him, he became uncooperative. Hankins engaged in a physical struggle with the two officers. Additional officers arrived at the shelter, including Deputy Shields, to bring Hankins into custody.
In the confined quarters of the bathroom, the involved personnel carefully restrained Hankins and lowered him to the ground. Once on the ground, Hankins continued to resist, forcibly lifting the officers who were attempting to place him in handcuffs. Officers were preparing to apply a leg restraint device when they noticed Hankins was not speaking and felt for a pulse on Hankins’ neck. Officers on the scene started lifesaving measures. Officers gave Hankins chest compressions and performed rescue breathing on him, and even used an Automated External Defibrillator in an attempt to revive Hankins. At approximately 5:19 p.m., emergency medical personnel from American Medical Response pronounced Hankins deceased on scene.
The forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy determined Hankins died from complications of cardiac dysrhythmia likely caused by the large amounts of methamphetamine in his blood. A blood sample collected during the autopsy revealed Hankins had ten times greater than a lethal dose of methamphetamine in his system.
The DA’s Office and every law enforcement agency in Contra Costa County has adopted the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incidents Protocol (“the Protocol”) to investigate incidents when officers or civilians are shot or die during an encounter with law enforcement. Under the Protocol, the DA’s Office investigates all officer-involved shootings in Contra Costa County for the purpose of making an independent determination of criminal liability. The sole purpose of the District Attorney investigation is to determine if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed during a fatal encounter with law enforcement.
The public report is available on our website.