Oakland police ‘sliding backwards’ on reforms, attorneys say

Three years ago, civil rights lawyers John Burris and James Chanin prepared to call for an end to the Oakland Police Department’s decade-long federal oversight program. A widespread officer sexual misconduct scandal surfaced, and the fallout gave pause to the attorneys.


At the time, it appeared Oakland police may emerge from federal oversight, which began in 2003 and stemmed from the Riders case of rogue officers planting drugs and beating West Oakland residents.


On Friday, Burris and Chanin, who represented the Riders’ victims, filed new court records documenting their “disappointment” with the OPD. The attorneys, who have overseen the federal watch program now in its 17th year, wrote that police leadership has slipped at an “unprecedented” level.


“The OPD is sliding backwards on multiple fronts,” the attorneys wrote. “These developments are extremely disappointing.”


The mission of the Coalition for Police Accountability (“the Coalition” or CPA) is to advocate for accountability of the Oakland Police Department to the community so that the Oakland Police Department operates with equitable, just, constitutional, transparent policies and practices that reflect the values and engender the trust of the community.

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