The Oakland police have been under the oversight of a federal monitor for nearly 20 years after the long-ago “Riders” scandal, but on Wednesday will make their case to end this arrangement.
One has to go way back into the local news archives to relive the Oakland Police Department “Riders” scandal of the early 2000s, a notorious incident where four officers were accused of beating and kidnapping suspects, and planting evidence. They were found not guilty in a criminal trial, but in a landmark civil trial, the city of Oakland was forced to pay nearly $11 million to more than 100 plaintiffs, and the Oakland Police Department was placed under a probation-like federal oversight arrangement.
The department has continued to endure scandals, and so the federal oversight has continued for nearly 20 years. But the Chronicle reports that the city of Oakland will ask the courts to end the oversight program, or rather, begin a year-long transition into ending it.
“It’s significant, it’s historic,” civil rights attorney John Burris, who originally litigated the arrangement in 2003, told the Chronicle. “It’s a milestone no question. The only question is, why did it take so long? But it did. Hopefully, we are close to the end.”
The department will argue that they are in compliance with all of the reforms demanded of them, except one. There are still racial disparities in disciplining officers for alleged misconduct. Per the Chronicle “a report on internal investigation outcomes found that Black officers sustained discipline more frequently in certain investigations than white officers.”
The hearing to end the federal oversight is scheduled for Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in a U.S. District Court.
Image: City of Oakland