High-Ranking Oakland Police Officers Face Serious Discipline in Misconduct Probe

High-ranking Oakland police officers, including Deputy Chief Drennon Lindsey and lead internal affairs investigator Sgt. Mega Lee, are facing severe disciplinary action following an investigation into alleged misconduct. The probe is related to the case of detective Phong Tran, who stands accused of bribing a confidential witness in a murder case and subsequently lying about it.

Sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have confirmed that Lindsey and Lee have been served with termination notices. Additionally, Capt. Kevin Kaney is expected to receive a lengthy suspension, while Lt. Hamann Nguyen may face demotion. All four officers have the right to appeal the proposed discipline and will have the opportunity to present their case at a Skelly hearing.

The investigation into the officers stems from a separate criminal case involving Phong Tran, a veteran homicide detective. Tran, who has been charged with perjury, allegedly played a role in the wrongful conviction of two individuals who were later exonerated when allegations of money-for-testimony surfaced. The district attorney’s office is currently reviewing numerous other cases involving Tran, potentially implicating additional officers in internal disciplinary proceedings.

Independent investigative reporter Ali Winston recently shed light on the matter, revealing that senior Oakland Police Department officials had downplayed the district attorney’s concerns about Tran’s work and the internal affairs investigation. Ultimately, the internal affairs investigators cleared Tran of misconduct, reaching an “unfounded” finding.

The proposed discipline facing Lindsey, who has been on medical or injury leave for several months, is a rare occurrence for a deputy chief within the Oakland Police Department. Previous cases have seen deputy chiefs opt for retirement rather than undergoing the appeal process. Lindsey, who is at retirement age, has not yet indicated whether she will retire or contest the allegations.

This situation presents an early challenge for incoming Chief Floyd Mitchell, who is expected to assume his role in the coming month. As the new police chief, Mitchell will have a significant say in upholding or overturning the decisions resulting from the appeal hearings.

The investigation into these officers has been shrouded in secrecy, with high-level officials, including City Administrator Jestin Johnson, claiming to have no knowledge of the matter despite rumors circulating. Mayor Sheng Thao’s representatives acknowledged being briefed on the investigation but did not disclose specific details. Notably, neither the federal monitoring team overseeing the Oakland Police Department nor the civilian-led police commission were informed of the investigation.

Prominent civil-rights attorney Jim Chanin expressed frustration upon learning of Lindsey’s potential termination, emphasizing that none of the federal monitoring team members were made aware of the investigation. Chanin called for a compelling reason behind Lindsey’s discipline, stating that otherwise, he would be outraged.

Author: CrimeDoor

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