Long Beach prosecutors have decided not to refile criminal charges against a now-retired CHP officer accused of negligently driving his motorcycle at high speed when he crashed into and killed a man walking in the street.

Authorities alleged Officer Alfredo Oros Gutierrez was riding his department-issued motorcycle at nearly 70 mph in the moments before he hit 24-year-old Cezannie Mount, who—for an unknown reason—was walking in the lanes of Del Amo Boulevard instead of on the sidewalk as he headed home from work at around 4:30 in the morning on Oct. 27, 2019.

Based on the belief that Gutierrez was speeding, the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office filed misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges, alleging his negligent driving caused Mount’s death.

But at trial last month, Gutierrez’s attorney spent much of his time undermining investigators’ speed calculations, and jurors eventually deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.

Prosecutors could have asked for a retrial but announced in court Wednesday that they would not. They made this decision for “a multitude of reasons,” according to City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, who pointed out it had taken three years to get to the first trial only to have it result in a hung jury.

From the beginning, Gutierrez’s case had been complicated by a potential conflict of interest that arose when the CHP took over the investigation from the Long Beach Police Department.

Cezannie Mount, center, with his family. From left: aunt Beverly, sister Asia, father Alivin and mother Nella. Photo courtesy Eric Dubin.

The CHP ultimately recommended against charging Gutierrez, but, in court, Supervising Deputy City Prosecutor James Young called their findings biased.

He pointed out that investigators dwelled on what they called Gutierrez’s unblemished driving while omitting several speeding tickets from more than a decade before the crash.

In a letter this month to CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee, Haubert reiterated those concerns, saying “an objective person might conclude” that parts of the report “make an effort to minimize culpability of Mr. Gutierrez.”

Haubert stopped short of questioning the CHP’s motives or accusing investigators of sabotaging the case in any way.

“There is no way to know if the outcome of this particular trial would have been different if another agency handled the investigation,” he wrote. “However, the unusual circumstances of the incident have led some to believe that there was a conflict of interest, or the perception of a conflict, by having CHP take over the investigation.”

He urged the CHP to stay out of other departments’ investigations into its officers, “especially when there is a fatality.”

In this case, the CHP has said it took over the investigation only because Long Beach police requested their help. The LBPD, however, denies this, saying the CHP asked to take control.

Mount’s family is pursuing a civil lawsuit against the CHP, and, according to Haubert, they agreed with the decision not to pursue a new criminal trial.

“The bottom line is that there is nothing that can be done to bring back Cezannie Mount,” Haubert said in a statement, calling Mount a good student, standout athlete and promising music producer who’d played basketball at Poly High School before graduating from Earlham College in Indiana.

“Nothing will lessen the pain felt by his friends and family,” Haubert said, “And our hearts continue to go out to them.”

Gutierrez, who was seriously hurt in the crash, no longer works in law enforcement after his injuries forced him to take a medical retirement from the CHP, according to his attorney.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.