A judge who ordered reforms and imposed federal oversight on the Oakland Police Department nearly a decade and a half ago took the city and department to task again Monday at least verbally for the way the Celeste Guap sex scandal was handled. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who first ordered the Oakland PD to clean up its act in 2003 in the wake of the Riders scandal, said to those in attendance, including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, "We’re still not finished with this case after 14 years.”
In the hearing in San Francisco, which was the first major court proceeding on the reforms he mandated in five years and which comes just a month before Judge Henderson is set to retire he chastised the city in response to a report by two independent attorneys that examined the handling of the sex scandal, which came to light in June 2016. “These are not arbitrary orders we’re trying to enforce," Henderson said, according to the Chronicle. "I’m not just an inconvenient bump on the way to a settlement."
The Oakland PD has been trying to graduate out from under the watchful eye of a federal monitor since the Riders case, in which multiple officers were implicated for brutalizing suspects, resulting in a civil rights lawsuit known as Delphine Allen et al. v. City of Oakland. Attorneys John Burris and James B. Chanin, who helped bring the 2003 case against the city, publicly suggested last week that officers in the department should be held in contempt of court, and they called out newly hired police chief Anne Kirkpatrick for having promoted individuals connected to the Guap case in the months since she took over.
As the East Bay Express reports, Kirkpatrick said she still stood by the promotions of John Lois and Roland Holmgren, and that the court-ordered federal monitor, Robert Warshaw, signed off on the decision as well. Lois and Holmgren were promoted to the ranks of assistant chief and captain, respectively, but the EBX suggests these promotions occurred before the court-ordered report had been released in the Guap case.
Warshaw was key in bringing the original case to light, as he was involved in an internal investigation into the 2015 suicide of Officer Brendan O'Brien.
Henderson stopped short of anything drastic, and ordered that the city submit a report explaining how they would be implementing changes recommended in the outside counsels' report.
Burris tells the Chronicle that there should be a housecleaning in the department if reforms are truly to take hold, and he, says, "Who’s to say they won’t do it again?"
Though criminal charges are still pending against some officers, including those in other local police departments, a civil case brought by Burris et al on behalf of Guap who last year revealed her real name as Jasmine Abuslin was settled by the city of Oakland in May for just under $1 million.