Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce’s former Chief of Staff Devin Cotter was ordered to complete ten days of community service as part of a plea agreement stemming from his arrest for public intoxication in the area on Junipero Avenue near 4th Street in June.
The city prosecutor’s office filed one misdemeanor count of public intoxication against Cotter, a 36-year-old Long Beach resident, weeks after Cotter was arrested for being drunk in public after showing up at Pearce’s home hours after the two were involved in an altercation on the freeway on June 3.
The incident resulted in a DUI field test for Pearce and a bruised face for Cotter when the councilwoman allegedly shoved him in what she claimed was self-defense, causing him to fall to the ground.
Pearce allegedly blew a .06 in what the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office later revealed to be a faulty breathalyzer. Police reports from the next morning when Cotter was arrested showed he blew a .16, a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit to operate a vehicle.
Due to contradicting statements made by the pair, Pearce was not charged with domestic violence.
Cotter reportedly showed up at Pearce’s home hours after the incident. Police encountered him on Junipero Avenue approaching Fourth Street when they responded to a “disturbing the peace” call at 6:19AM, according to the city prosecutor’s office.
“Cotter was detained by police officers who observed Cotter showing what was reported as ‘obvious signs and symptoms of him being intoxicated in a public place,’ including an odor of alcohol emitting from his breath and slurred speech in which he ‘seemed confused and repeated himself multiple times,’” City Prosecutor Doug Haubert said in an email today.
Police arrested him on a $50,000 DUI warrant for violating his probation on a 2015 drunk driving conviction case. While in custody Cotter submitted a breath test that determined his blood alcohol content (BAC) was .13, officials said.
Under the plea agreement, Cotter admitted that the June 3 incident violated his probation, which was revoked by Superior Court Judge Richard Goul who ordered Cotter to complete ten days of community service. Cotter was then reinstated on probation and if he fails to complete his community service or if he violates his probation again he could be sentenced to up to 170 days in county jail, prosecutors said. His public intoxication case was dismissed as part of the deal and it’s unclear if Cotter has fulfilled the public service time outlined in the plea deal.
The news of the November 16 plea agreement was announced by the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) late Thursday night in an email that included a link to dozens of documents, videos and photos requested by the press through the Public Records Act but previously unavailable due to the ongoing public intoxication case.
The link includes redacted copies of LBPD reports regarding the June 3 incident, Cotter’s jail visitation video, two cell phone videos taken by Pearce at the time of the altercation, Cotter’s booking photo and other photos of him released by his attorney, photos taken by officers at the time of Cotter’s arrest and detective photos of the possible incident locations.
Since the DA’s Public Integrity Division is conducting a separate review of alleged inappropriate activity and conflicts of interest that Cotter and Pearce have accused each other of, some records are still being withheld. The documents connected to this case will not be available until after the case is adjudicated, LBPD officials said.
In October, city officials released multiple documents involving Cotter and Pearce also in response to press requests via the Public Records Act.
Those documents include expenditure reports for Pearce and Cotter, emails written by any Council District 2 staff member that contains the words “crazy, immature, insane, narcissist” and other vulgarities, emails between Pearce and Cotter on the city network, emails sent to or from Pearce with the words “Devin, Cotter, Arrest”, calls for service logs from the LBPD related to the incident and call log reports from the city prosecutor’s office showing time and day of calls with Pearce.
Pearce and Cotter were in a relationship that came to an end sometime around Cotter’s exit from Pearce’s staff earlier this year. Cotter’s former business partner, Christian Kropff assumed the role of Pearce’s chief of staff after Cotter’s exit.
In the aftermath of the June incident, a small group of Pearce’s constituents has taken up a recall effort, claiming that she is unfit for office and does not represent their interests.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story erroneously stated Cotter was arrested in front of Pearce's home; he had already walked away from her home when police found and detained him in the area on Junipero Avenue near 4th Street.