[see S.F. Chronicle article
Two Sundays ago Berkeley Copwatch initiated a workshop on the possible
Federalization of the OPD with guest speaker attorney Jim Chanin who,
along with attorney John Burris, brought the "Riders" class action
lawsuit which gave rise to the Court Order that OPD has been under
In that workshop it was brought to people's attention that the
independent monitor of the court order needs to be contacted by anyone
involved in the Occupy Oakland movement who has been victimized by the
Oakland Police Department. The monitors wrote a brief appendix in
their quarterly report that came out last week that their next report
will have in-depth reporting on the OPD's violent repsonse to Occupy
Oakland. The next report will come out in July.
Excerpt from the Report:
"In Appendix A, we discuss how the Monitoring Team will address the
policing issues associated with Occupy Oakland. This has been prompted
by deep concerns over what we observed regarding these events, and by
the reinforcement of those concerns through our preliminary analyses.
We note that we will conduct a review of Occupy Oakland issues, which
are related to the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, as part of our
next regular quarterly report that will cover the period from October
1, through December 31, 2011. Our report will reflect our established
compliance assessment methodology and procedures. We also note that
although the law enforcement activities associated with Occupy Oakland
may be regarded as unusual or even extraordinary, those circumstances
have no bearing on our review standards or on our expectations
regarding compliance with the NSA Tasks."
Contact information for the monitor:
Robert S. Warshaw
Office of the Independent Monitor
Police Performance Solutions, LLC
P.O. Box 396, Dover, NH 03821-0396
This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate.
The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
Friday, January 27, 2012 (SF Chronicle)
Oakland risks losing responsibility for police
Chip Johnson, Chronicle Columnist
A federal court judge stripped Oakland this week of its right to freely
run its Police Department and warned the city that it's a step away from
losing total control of the department to a court-appointed federal
For almost a decade, the city has failed to fully comply with a negotiated
settlement agreement that laid out 51 things the Police Department had to
do to right itself after a nasty police abuse scandal revealed bad
A federal judge gave Oakland officials three more months to comply - or
face the music.
After nine years of empty promises, who can blame him?
"The court remains in disbelief that Defendants have yet - nine years
later - to achieve what they themselves agreed was doable in no more than
five years," U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson wrote.
Henderson issued an order that bars city officials from hiring, firing,
promoting, purchasing equipment or retaining consultants without prior
approval of an independent court-appointed monitor. The ruling also means
that neither interim Police Chief Howard Jordan nor Mayor Jean Quan can
change police policy, procedures, rules, tactics or disciplinary
procedures in the Police Department without getting permission from the
It's a step away from surrendering responsibility for the city's police to
federal management. If the city doesn't clean up its act - which doesn't
look likely given all the other crises Oakland now faces - the judge made
it clear that receivership will be the next step.
The judge's decision will rest heavily on the results of the monitor's
next quarterly report on the department's progress in the first three
months of the year. The judge is scheduled to receive that report in July.
If anything was learned from the federal takeover of the state's prison
system, it was that changes ordered by federal monitors drove up some of
the state's prison spending costs in its quest to improve the standard of
health care for inmates. Long promise of change
In a city whose finances are already strained by a midyear, $28 million
budget cut, losing the ability to limit spending on its Police Department
could be disastrous. The city's school district suffered the same fate in
May 2002 and didn't regain control again until 2009. Henderson's five-page
ruling reads like the lament from Oakland residents who've hung their hats
on the promise of change for far too long.
"The City makes much of its changed leadership, the Mayor, the City
Administrator, Chief of Police and City Attorney," Henderson wrote.
"However, as the Court has explained time and time again, words and
promises are not enough."
Nine years after entering into an agreement to settle a $10.9 million
police abuse lawsuit over four rogue police officers who called themselves
the "Riders," the city has met only 22 of 51 agreed-upon goals and lost
ground on some of the progress it has made. Areas of reform include
internal affairs investigations, officer supervision and using and
reporting forcible incidents involving police officers.
"The time for delay has long passed, and the Court does not intend the
procedures it has ordered to be an excuse for any additional delay,"
Henderson wrote. Oakland optimistic
The city's public response to Henderson's order has been to issue more
talk and more promises.
New leadership, momentum, heightened focus and commitment to action and
progress will be the driving force behind rapid changes, the city said in
a news release.
It would be nothing short of a miracle for the Police Department to
accomplish these goals in three months, yet we have a stern promise from
leadership that it can accomplish the task.
Henderson pointed out that the changes mandated to the department
represent the minimum standards held by police departments around the
nation and are not punitive or extraordinary hurdles to department
After nine years of lame excuses, three mayors and four police chiefs, the
federal courts have had their fill of Oakland politics and government.
Chip Johnson's column appears Tuesday and Friday. E-mail him at
Copyright 2012 SF Chronicle
*The Oscar Grant Committee meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at the
Niebyl Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph (near Alcatraz) in Oakland at 7:00
p.m. Call us at 510-239-3570 and visit us at