Top deputy for DA Pamela Price resigns amid reorg

Otis Bruce Jr. came under scrutiny at his former job in Marin County due to an investigation that found workplace misconduct.

Top deputy for DA Pamela Price resigns amid reorg
Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price and Chief Assistant District Attorney Otis Bruce Jr. at a press conference in April 2023. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

Otis Bruce Jr., a member of DA Pamela Price's transition team, has resigned, effective July 13, according to an email obtained by The Berkeley Scanner.

Bruce has served as chief assistant district attorney, one of Price's top deputies, since she took office early last year.

In her internal email, which went out to staff shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, Price described Bruce as "a truly committed public servant."

Bruce came under scrutiny at his former job in Marin County due to an investigation into workplace misconduct.

The investigation found that Bruce had used his senior position in the Marin County DA's office to manipulate employees and foster a fear of workplace retaliation.

Otis Bruce Jr. investigation found misconduct at former job
“The only person who made me feel unwelcome as a person of color was Mr. Bruce,” one person wrote, “by repeatedly implying to me that my coworkers were racist against me when in fact that was a lie.”

When the misconduct findings came to light last year, DA Price called them "false" and said her office stood "firmly behind Chief Otis Bruce."

In her internal email Tuesday, she said Bruce had "played a tremendous role as a key figure on our transition team."

"OBJ worked tirelessly throughout the past year-and-a-half using his prosecutorial wisdom and guidance to smooth our transition and help us overcome so many obstacles," she wrote.

She also wrote that Bruce would continue his work in "public service and civic engagement," including as president of the Rotary Club of San Rafael.

Price's email did not indicate who might take over Bruce's role in her administration.

DA Pamela Price: ‘We stand firmly behind Chief Otis Bruce’
The Alameda County DA’s office has alleged that a Marin County report about Bruce was “false” but has not substantiated those claims.

But her announcement did include the news that Assistant District Attorney Evanthia Pappas would lead a new Prosecutions Division as interim chief of prosecutors.

Price is expected to say more in a 2 p.m. press conference about the office reorganization, details of which have not been publicly announced.

In a brief email announcement, her office said she will also provide an update at 2 p.m. about a review of death penalty cases that her office undertook earlier this year.

Alameda County death penalty cases under review over alleged misconduct
The death penalty audit may be just the start, DA Pamela Price said: Other Alameda County cases “may be implicated.”

She said she also plans to announce charges in the Juneteenth mass shooting that happened in Oakland.

Tuesday's press conference is set to take place at Price's headquarters on Oakport Street near the coliseum. The office said the event would also be streamed online.

In a statement Tuesday, the Oakland Police Department said that two people had been arrested in connection with the Juneteenth shooting by Lake Merritt that left 14 people wounded.

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