With too many ongoing scandals to count, including the removal of three police chiefs in nine days, Oakland city officials are looking inward — just not perhaps in the manner we might expect. The East Bay Express reports that Mayor Libby Schaaf has hired a private investigator to determine just who, exactly, has been talking to the press.
That's right, city leaders didn't hire this private investigator to determine just how it is that the department is such a mess, but rather to uncover how it is that we've come to find out about all their bad behavior.
Civil rights attorney John Burris tells the paper he thinks that such an investigation is "a ridiculous waste of time and resources."
City Administrator Sabrina Landreth is currently technically in charge of the department, at least its non-operational aspects, with Schaaf turning to someone outside the police force in what looks to be an attempt to turn things around for the scandal-plagued OPD. Landreth says the investigation is really all about ensuring that police personnel information remains confidential in compliance with state law — not to preemptively silence future press coverage by going after past or future whistle-blowers.
"The overarching goal is to make sure that all complaints of police misconduct are thoroughly investigated," Landreth observed in a statement released yesterday. "Our intention is to root out misconduct and prevent cover-ups, not to silence critics or whisteblowers [sic]."
"As we stated before, any violation of confidentiality or breach of integrity related to personnel issues or open, ongoing investigations could jeopardize those investigations, and impede our ability to reach the truth and secure the strongest judgments against those responsible," added Landreth.
The upheaval is not limited to the police department, as activists have in recent days called for the resignation of Mayor Schaaf, accusing her of being unable to manage the police department. What impact this investigation will have, if any, on calls for her removal remains to be seen.