Ousted chief Anne Kirkpatrick has already been replaced (twice!) and now cites “inappropriate and unlawful conduct” by the Oakland Police Commission.
The relentless scandal factory that is the Oakland Police Department managed to get off to a pretty quiet start to 2020, at least by the standards of the “Riders” kidnapping and police brutality disgraces, and of course that one time a number of their officers coerced sex from an underage woman. But the relative calm was shattered in late February when Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fired after three years on the job, and indicated she would not go quietly. Indeed she has not, as the Chronicle reports that Kirkpatrick has filed a whistleblower complaint against the city, and one the Chron describes as “a precursor to an official lawsuit.”
I can't wait to read the depositions.https://t.co/YkNEWHrEXV— Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) May 6, 2020
“Put simply, the Police Commission is out of control,” her complaint reads, according to bits published in the Chronicle. “The Police Commission and Mayor orchestrated Chief Kirkpatrick’s termination in retaliation for the Chief’s repeated whistleblowing.”
The Oakland Police Commission is a civilian oversight body, and one with which Kirkpatrick never got along. Their main point of contention appears to be Chief Kirkpatrick’s exoneration of five officers involved in the 2018 police shooting of a homeless man after the commission wanted all five officers fired. But there’s also been significant beef between Kirkpatrick and police commissioner Ginale Harris, with the Chronicle reporting “The former chief said that in September 2018, Harris demanded Oakland police reimburse her for towing fees,” and that “Harris also allegedly flashed her commissioner badge,” in attempt to resolve such matters.
There is also the ongoing federal oversight of the OPD, now going on its 17th year, and monitored by Department of Justice auditor Robert Warshaw. His audits was highly critical of Kirkpatrick’s leniency in that case.
But the job of being Oakland Police Chief is kind of like being the drummer for Spinal Tap, one typically doesn’t last long in the position. Frankly, three years is a pretty impressively long tenure for that job. As the East Bay Times points out, “Over the past decade, Oakland police have had eight chiefs. In 2013 and again in 2016, the city underwent three chiefs within a week.” Oakland has had two police chiefs since Kirkpatrick’s ouster, and current chief Susan Manheimer has an “Interim” on her title.
Image: Oakland Police Department