MARTINEZ — A Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy who was arrested by his own agency in late August had reportedly used a falsified police report to steal firearms from a property room containing evidence seized in criminal investigations, according to a probable cause statement written by investigators.
Matthew Buckley, 41, of Pinole, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft of firearms, receiving stolen property, unlawful transfer of a firearm, falsifying a police report, destroying or concealing evidence, and possessing methamphetamine allegedly found during a search of his home. He posted bail and was released shortly after his arrest.
Last week, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton recused herself from a filing decision on Buckley, who served as her bailiff roughly 15 years ago, when Becton was a judge. No decision has yet been made about whether to file charges against Buckley, or what offenses to charge him with. It is also unclear whether another Contra Costa prosecutor will make the decision or if the Attorney General will step in.
Court records allege that Buckley’s crime involved misrepresenting that a Superior Court judge had authorized him to take guns from a property room, when the weapons were supposed to remain in the court’s possession. Authorities say the crime was only discovered after the man whose guns had been seized by police began constantly checking in about their whereabouts.
The guns are described as two AR-15 rifles that Buckley allegedly kept at his home.
Buckley was named in a 2019 federal lawsuit filed by a Bay Point couple who claimed deputies showed up to the wrong home and violently arrested the man, after the woman had called police to report her neighbors were fighting. According to the lawsuit, Buckley knocked the man to the ground and caused lacerations to his chin during the wrongful arrest. The county paid the couple $98,000 to settle the lawsuit.
Buckley was a 15-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who was well-respected by peers until the alleged crimes came to light, according to multiple law enforcement sources who know him. He was named the department’s “officer of the year” in 2019 for his work the previous year.
Buckley couldn’t be reached for comment and it is unclear whether he has retained an attorney.
Earlier this year, in an unrelated but similar case, a Contra Costa Sheriff’s volunteer was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor in a case where the defendant had been allowed to take gun parts and bullets from a county sheriff’s gun range.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Investigation Division at 925-313-2600 or through Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 925-646-2441. For any tips, email: email@example.com or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.