Internal Affairs Investigation Controversy Threatens Oakland Police Department’s Progress

Internal Affairs Investigation Controversy Threatens Oakland Police Department’s Progress

The Oakland Police Department (OPD) finds itself embroiled in fresh controversy as details emerge of an allegedly mishandled internal affairs investigation. The timing of this revelation is far from ideal, as a judge is set to decide in June whether the OPD can be released from two decades of federal oversight. The fallout from this latest misstep could potentially jeopardize the department’s progress towards having its conservatorship lifted.

Limited information regarding the disciplinary actions has been made available to police-oversight officials, who typically have access to investigative documents in such cases. Deputy Chief Drennon Lindsey and Sgt. Mega Lee face potential termination, while at least one officer is suspended. These officers have the right to appeal and present their cases in Skelly hearings. The disciplinary actions stem from an internal affairs investigation into former Homicide Det. Phong Tran, who is currently facing a jury trial for allegedly bribing a confidential witness in a murder case.

The potential consequences of this disciplinary action are significant, as it could deal a blow to the OPD’s command staff just before the arrival of a new chief in mid-May. The situation has also raised concerns within the city due to the fact that Deputy Chief Lindsey, who faces termination, is the wife of ex-Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who was fired by Mayor Sheng Thao last year.

This incident bears similarities to previous cases that have prolonged the OPD’s federal oversight and led Judge William Orrick to conclude that the department “can’t police itself.” Civil-rights attorneys Jim Chanin and John Burris, who filed the lawsuit against the OPD that initially resulted in the department’s oversight two decades ago, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of access to the details of the officers’ alleged failure to hold Tran accountable. They have stated that they will not agree to end the oversight settlement under these conditions.

Chanin’s request to view the documents was denied by Brigid Martin, a special counsel in the city attorney’s office, who cited the need to protect the integrity of ongoing related investigations. The involvement of Robert Warshaw, the federal official appointed to monitor the OPD, in the discipline investigations into Lindsey and other officers remains unclear. However, Warshaw’s team did receive the investigative report, potentially influencing his recommendation on whether to extend the OPD’s oversight.

The arrival of the new chief, Mitchell, who previously served as the chief of Lubbock, Texas, adds another layer to the situation. Mitchell has expressed his eagerness to guide the OPD out of oversight permanently. City Administrator Jestin Johnson and Mac Muir, the head of the Community Police Review Agency, are reported to have been directly involved in the investigation process. However, Johnson denied having any knowledge of the discipline cases, while Muir declined to comment.

The Oakland Police Commission, a powerful civilian-led cop-oversight body, hopes to develop stronger protocols to ensure better information sharing in such cases. Marsha Peterson, the commission’s chair, emphasized the importance of being well-informed before taking a position on the matter.

As the department faces potential terminations and retirements within its command staff, the selection of new personnel by Chief Mitchell is expected. Such changes are customary with the appointment of a new chief, according to Sgt. Huy Nguyen, the head of the Oakland police officers’ union.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. As someone who is passionate about justice and accountability, my personal goal is to advocate for transparency and reform within law enforcement agencies. It is disheartening to hear about mishandled internal affairs investigations, as it undermines the trust between the police and the community they serve.

    To address this issue, I plan to stay informed about cases like the one involving the Oakland Police Department and actively engage in discussions surrounding police misconduct. I believe that it is crucial to support organizations and initiatives that promote police accountability, such

  2. I remember a similar incident that happened in my city a few years ago. The local police department was facing a lot of criticism for mishandling internal affairs investigations. It started when a video went viral showing an officer using excessive force during an arrest. The incident sparked outrage in the community, and people were demanding accountability.

    As the investigation unfolded, it became clear that there were multiple instances where internal affairs cases were mishandled or swept under the rug. It was disheartening to see the lack

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