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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oakland Police Department Has a Long Road to Reform, Feds Say

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 9:23 AM

click to enlarge You can't pepper spray this problem away - KATE CONGER
  • Kate Conger
  • You can't pepper spray this problem away

The Oakland Police Department is getting bad press -- again. Since January, the department has been operating under

threat of federal receivership, and the latest report from the their

federal monitor, Robert Warshaw, reveals that photos defaced in a

"racist, insulting, and inappropriate" manner were found hanging

outside a patrol line-up room.

Here's trouble with that. Those not-so-flattering images with of some of OPD's

least favorite folks: Mayor Jean Quan, who went head-to-head with the

police over last fall's Occupy encampment, and Federal Judge Thelton

Henderson, who is responsible for deciding whether or not to place

OPD under federal control.

The pictures were reported to OPD's

Internal Affairs Department and eventually removed, and all eight

lieutenants who used the room claimed never to have seen the images. However,

Warshaw says their excuse isn't good enough: "Either they were

incompetent and did not know what was going on in their commands; or

they knew, failed to act, and then lied."  

Warshaw goes on to note that OPD has made only one minor improvement during his most recent reporting period (reports are published quarterly) -- and he's still not that impressed. "Data problems were resolved with the data management equivalent of duct tape -- reverting to the recording of arrest data by hand," he writes.

In addition to pissing off their federal babysitter, OPD hasn't kept Mayor Quan very happy, either. Although she hasn't commented on the reportedly racist photos, she sounded off in the New York Times Magazine yesterday, claiming the cops sabotaged her with their Oct. 25 raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment.

She also says they booted her car, just to be mean.

"The theory among some of my left friends and among some members of my family was that I was set up," Quan told New York Times reporter Jonathan Mahler about the raid, which took place while Quan was on her way back to Oakland from Washington, D.C. "You know, I was out of town, they closed down the camp a day early and then overreacted. Certain people in the police had tried to set me up before. I mean, my car got booted right after the election ... to send the message that they can do what they want. That I better watch out."

Occupy Oakland hasn't resolved its ongoing beef with the OPD, either. An investigation into the department's handling of the protests is ongoing, and on Tuesday, an Occupy videographer posted a video online, which shows Oakland officers drawing guns to stop and frisk two young black men, before releasing them without charges.

Although San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has been a proponent of stop-and-frisk, Mayor Quan has been mum on the subject. Given her flip-flopping stance on Occupy, we're not sure how she'll feel about stop-and-frisk on her turf -- or how Warshaw will feel about it, either.

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About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.


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