NEWS & VIDEOS

Oakland voters overwhelmingly back police oversight measure.

November 06, 2020

For the second time in four years, a supermajority of Oaklanders voted to give a civilian police commission vast authority.
Four years ago, Oakland voters approved the creation of a civilian police commission with the power to fire the police chief, make and review a range of police policies, and discipline officers for serious misconduct, including the use of deadly force, lying, and sexual assault. 
Now, a new measure that will strengthen that commission is winning by a large margin. 
According to the latest vote count, Measure S1 is passing with 81% of the vote.

Editorial: Approve Oakland police measure, but eliminate duplication

September 25, 2020

Oakland needs tough police accountability. But it also needs citizen oversight that’s professional and respectful, and it doesn’t need wasteful layers of bureaucracy that undermine the effort.

Measure S1 on the Nov. 3 ballot would increase the authority, autonomy and responsibilities of the city’s Police Commission and Community Police Review Agency. It would also add a new Office of Inspector General to investigate and review the city’s handling of police misconduct.

The changes would strengthen the independent citizen oversight of the city’s troubled Police Department, which is why voters should approve Measure S1.

Fired Oakland Police Chief Files Whistleblower Lawsuit Against City

August 25, 2020

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — Fired Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick followed through on a promise to sue the city of Oakland for retaliation, filing a federal lawsuit Wednesday that claims she was booted from the job for reporting corruption and misconduct in the police commission. 

Her lawsuit claims members of the police commission, a civilian body formed in 2016 to oversee the police department, routinely abused their power and demanded special treatment. 

Oakland City Council puts measure to strengthen police commission on November ballot

July 28, 2020

OAKLAND — In swift action, the Oakland City Council unanimously agreed to ask voters on the Nov. 3 ballot to strengthen the independence of the city’s citizens police commission.

The council, by a vote of 8-0 Thursday, agreed to remove a contested clause in the charter amendment — at the request of the police commission and Oakland residents — that would have given the police chief authority to override the police commission and the council in emergencies related to public safety.

Council member Noel Gallo, chair of the council’s public safety committee, said that, by deleting that provision, it would allow “a commission that can be more responsive to our citizens to make sure that public safety continues to be a priority.”

Oakland’s independent Police Commission enacts landmark policy on asphyxia and neck holds

July 10, 2020

Oakland, CA. July 9, 2020  Oakland’s Police Commission enacted the strongest language in the nation banning the use of all neck holds and protecting individuals from asphyxia (when someone is deprived of oxygen). 

Oakland has the strongest independent community oversight in the United States with the ability to write policing policy, discipline officers, and fire the police chief. This policy can now only be overturned by a majority vote veto from the city council which is not expected.Although “choke holds” are banned in Oakland, the use of the carotid hold which cuts off the flow of blood to the brain, is considered to be lethal force and was still allowed.The asphyxia language in this policy is unprecedented in protecting residents ininteractions with police.

The policy comes in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a case that has sparked national protests and increased awareness over the dangers of police restraints, including asphyxia, that prevent people from breathing.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland, CA.  Oakland’s Police Commission July 9 enacted the strongest language in the nation banning the use of all neck holds and protecting individuals from asphyxia (when someone is deprived of oxygen). 

 

The policy comes in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a case that has sparked national protests and increased awareness over the dangers of police restraints, including asphyxia, that prevent people from breathing.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let civilians police the police. Politicians and law enforcement are protecting bad cops

June 21, 2020

The U.S. government had the right answer from the start: civilian control of the armed forces. State and local governments should have paid attention.

The commander in chief: a civilian. The ranking No. 2: a civilian secretary of Defense.

The American military isn’t perfect. But it’s basically disciplined and tends to keep the troops in line. Bad apples are routinely discarded.

Contrast that with local police and sheriffs’ departments — and, in much of their history, state prison guards. Bad apples stink up the entire place because they’re protected by the buddy system and hardly ever tossed.

Oakland considers policing model involving civilians responding to specific 911 calls

June 10, 2020

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – In nationwide unrest over the death of George Floyd, there are growing calls to defund police departments across the country. 

Some protesters seek to disband police departments altogether. 

A different model of policing that involves civilians responding to specific 911 calls is currently under consideration in the city of Oakland.

City Council Could Decide Future of Police Commission

June 07, 2020

The future of the Oakland Police Commission could be decided by the City Council on Tuesday, June 9. Will the voters be allowed to strengthen the independence and authority of the community’s commission, or will they be asked to weaken and marginalize it?

The City Council will decide what to put on the ballot in November and that’s the stark choice.

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the brutal overreactions of police departments across the country to the resulting demonstrations vividly illustrate the crying need for civilian oversight of the police. That oversight has to be real, not “advisory” and it has to have teeth.

Mayor Pledges Support for Obama Plan

June 06, 2020

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Pledging to engage the community for input on reforming the police department — that is what an East Bay mayor recently did.

 

KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun spoke to members of a police reform group who say they would like to see the mayor take a different pledge.

Mayor Schaaf's Duplicity on Police Commission

May 11, 2020

Oakland's mayor has, sadly, assimilated the spirit of Donald Trump-- willing to use the Big Lie to get a political advantage.   

          But then Libby Schaaf is the two- faced person who while she was publicly firing former Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said both that she did it because the Police Commission, which she said she respected, wanted her to and that Kirkpatrick was an outstanding and admirable chief.  Public confusion about the firing was not surprising.

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Oakland Police Commission Fires Police Chief

March 18, 2020

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Moms 4 Housing Won't be Charged; debuties' tactics questioned

February 14, 2020

The members of Moms 4 Housing who were arrested after illegally living in an Oakland home will not be charged they learned on Thursday. 

 

Misty Cross, Tolani King, along with two supporters, were briefly jailed last month on charges of resisting arrest when Alameda County sheriff's deputies attempted to remove them from the home they were squatting in. The activist group said they found on from Alameda County district attorney's office that all charges have been dropped. 

 

Meanwhile, Oakland is moving toward a new policy on how police use equipment such as tear gas, battering rams, and sniper rifles, like the ones used during the eviction. 

 

Police watchdogs have long complained the department is too "militarized." 

Racial Disparity In Oakland Traffic Stops Remains Despite Police Department Changes

November 23, 2019

tOAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The number of African American people involved in traffic stops by Oakland Police has dropped nearly in half since 2016. Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick says this is real progress in the fight against racial profiling, but many in the community say it’s just a numbers game.

To curb racial bias, Oakland police are pulling fewer people over. Will it work?

November 20, 2019

Oakland police, long criticized for using traffic violations to search and interrogate people of color, are trying something new: They’ve dramatically cut back on enforcement.

 

Officers are declining to pull people over in most cases for low-level infractions like a broken windshield or taillight. They might not even stop motorists for rolling through a stop sign, if no one is crossing the street and the car doesn’t pose an imminent threat to public safety, said police Capt. Christopher Bolton.

Measure to Reform Oakland Police Commission in the Works

November 06, 2019

After years of advocacy for independent police oversight in Oakland, residents overwhelmingly voted for the creation of a civilian police commission by passing Measure LL in 2016. In the intervening years, however, supporters of the robust oversight seemingly promised by that measure have described its promise of reforming Oakland's consistently troubled police department as unfulfilled. Now, a charter amendment that hopes to amend some of Measure LL's perceived weaknesses could come before Oakland voters sometime next year.

Oakland Police Chief Orders Probe Into Arrest Of Ex-Councilman Wilson Riles Jr.

October 30, 2019

Oakland police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has ordered an internal affairs investigation into an altercation involving a former city councilman who was thrown to the ground and arrested at the Planning and Building Department offices last week, city officials said Monday.

Wilson Riles Jr., who served on the Oakland City Council from 1979 to 1992, had argued with city staff in a dispute over a sweat lodge on his 39th Avenue property for his Native American spiritual practices.

 

Riles said in an interview that as he was leaving the city office on Thursday morning, police officers confronted him, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him without giving any indication that they intended to arrest him.

Oakland police officers who face termination over fatal 2018 shooting sue the city

August 14, 2019

Five Oakland police officers slated to be fired following a controversial 2018 shooting have filed a lawsuit against the city and its civilian Police Commission, asking a court to spare their jobs and formally clear them of wrongdoing.

The suit, filed Monday in Alameda County Superior Court, is the latest chapter in what has been a contentious year of investigations and conflicting findings about the March 11, 2018, death of Joshua Pawlik. Pawlik, a 32-year-old homeless man, was discovered unconscious and armed in a yard between two homes in West Oakland, and was gunned down by police moments after he woke up.

Oakland Police Continue to Under-Report Use of Force

August 03, 2019

A new report from the Oakland Police Department's Office of the Inspector General concludes that in nearly half the cases reviewed, officers under-reported when they used force to detain someone and that police were much quicker to use force on African-Americans and Latinos.

The two key findings:

-- Of 47 use-of-force incidents sampled and reviewed, 18 (involving 31 officers) were not in compliance with policy requirements. Seventeen of these went unreported altogether, where no use-of-force form was  completed, the OIG found. 

-- The percentage of African Americans detained  – and who police used force on but the cases were underreported --  is higher than the percentage of African-American arrestees.  For example, there were five cases where the audit determined a "weaponless defense technique," like a takedown or a leg sweep, should have been reported as a use of force but was not.  Of that number,  four people were Black and one was Latino. The auditors found another 12 incidents involving 19 people where the pointing of a firearm should have been reported as a use of force but was not. Of that number, 17 were African American and two were Latino.  "When force goes unreported, it inhibits the department's efforts to accurately assess potential racial disparities in the use of force," the OIG wrote. 

Oakland Police Commission Flexes Muscle in Ruling

July 20, 2019

In a watershed decision, the Oakland Police Commission ruled this month that five officers involved in a controversial 2018 shooting should be fired, marking the first time the 2-year-old civilian body has wielded this authority.

After the release of the commission report on Thursday, police accountability advocates cheered the panel for fulfilling its watchdog role, while the police union blasted the verdict as baseless and politically motivated.

In a watershed decision, the Oakland Police Commission ruled this month that five officers involved in a controversial 2018 shooting should be fired, marking the first time the 2-year-old civilian body has wielded this authority.

Oakland’s Independent Police Commission Passes Search Protections for People on Probation or Parole

April 12, 2019

[Oakland, CA. April 12, 2019] Late last night, Oakland’s Police Commission

unanimously passed a new policy which requires that police officers have

an actual reason to search a person on probation or parole for a non-violent offence.

The commission drafted the new policy after consulting with people who had been

subjected to repeated searches, criminal justice advocates, and the

Oakland Police Department (OPD).

Oakland police ‘sliding backwards’ on reforms, attorneys say

March 24, 2019

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.”

Oakland Coalition Calls for Firing Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

March 22, 2019

The Coalition for Police Accountability is calling for the firing of Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick in the wake of the 2018 police killing of Joshua Pawlik, a homeless man who was shot 22 times by four officers.

 

The coalition is directing its demand toward federal court-appointed Compliance Director Robert Warshaw, who has the power to fire the chief under the court-supervised Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA), which has governed Oakland police reform efforts since 2003.

 

In a prepared proclamation, the coalition said Warshaw should remove the chief “and install an interim chief until the Oakland Police Commission can conduct a search, and identify qualified candidates for consideration.”

Copy Of -Oakland Coalition Calls for Firing Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

March 22, 2019

The Coalition for Police Accountability is calling for the firing of Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick in the wake of the 2018 police killing of Joshua Pawlik, a homeless man who was shot 22 times by four officers.

 

The coalition is directing its demand toward federal court-appointed Compliance Director Robert Warshaw, who has the power to fire the chief under the court-supervised Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA), which has governed Oakland police reform efforts since 2003.

 

In a prepared proclamation, the coalition said Warshaw should remove the chief “and install an interim chief until the Oakland Police Commission can conduct a search, and identify qualified candidates for consideration.”

Oakland police lose ground on reforms in court monitor’s new report

March 21, 2019

A court monitor has found Oakland police are losing ground in their 16-year struggle to comply with dozens of reforms, dealing a major setback to the department’s goal of finally emerging from federal oversight.

 

Robert Warshaw released his findings Wednesday in a quarterly report to U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick, confirming what sources had previously told The Chronicle and signaling the court-appointed monitor intends to pick apart more of the department’s hard-fought gains.

Oakland’s police chief had a critical goal for 2019. Then came a dispute over a shooting

March 17, 2019

As the year began, Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick offered a list of goals for 2019 — and she saved perhaps the most ambitious for last.

 

By the end of the year, Kirkpatrick told the city’s Police Commission, she hoped to finally bring her agency into compliance with a federal judge’s order for reforms stemming from a 2-decade-old brutality case. The so-called Riders scandal has cost Oakland millions in taxpayer dollars and done immeasurable harm to the police force’s reputation.

 

But the effort to shed federal oversight has run into fresh tension, with a disputed investigation of a fatal police shooting derailing hard-won progress. Kirkpatrick finds herself at odds with the federal monitor tracking her reforms.

Opinion: Police Accountability Requires Real Consequences by Henry Gage III

March 09, 2019

It is profoundly disappoint­ing to discover that Chief Kirk­patrick believes her officers’ use of lethal force against an uncon­scious man was “within law and policy,” as Chief Kirkpatrick writes in her addendum to the Executive Force Review Board Report. This is not the language of a reformer. This is a failure to advocate for progressive changes to both law and policy. Kirkpatrick’s addendum is an attempt to calcify an unaccept­able status quo.

Monitor slams police chief

March 08, 2019

The federal monitor overseeing Oakland police sharply criticized Chief Anne Kirkpatrick’s disciplinary decisions involving officers who fatally shot a homeless man last year, saying she went light on cops who made serious errors and ignored a key piece of evidence,according to internal documents released Wednesday.

 

Kirkpatrick went against recommendations of her own commanders who found that senior officers made mistakes at the scene of the shooting of Joshua Pawlik, 31, last March, monitor Robert Warshaw wrote, calling her thinking “disappointing and myopic.”

Oakland police failed to adequately probe fatal shooting of homeless man, court-appointed monitor says

March 07, 2019

A federal court-appointed monitor overseeing the Oakland Police Department rejected the findings of internal investigations into the police killing of a homeless man, saying investigators failed to question officers about a video that contradicted their account of the moments before they opened fire.

 

Compliance Director Robert Warshaw called the investigations by internal affairs and a use-of-force review board “deficient” and said Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick dismissed the video, and that her oversight of the probe was “disappointing and myopic.”

Oakland's Lost Year of Police Accountability

January 10, 2019

In 2018, The Town's new police commission stumbled badly in a power struggle with other city officials, and itself. Can it recover?

 

Over the past year, the commission hasn't made progress on the core work required of it under the city charter. They've yet to hold a single hearing in a police disciplinary case or participate in an OPD Executive Force Review Board to examine a shooting or similar critical incident. They're ill-prepared to draft their evaluation of the police chief. They've yet to hold a community meeting.

California Supreme Court Wants to Know If a New Police Records Transparency Law Applies to 'Brady Lists' of Problem Officers

January 03, 2019

A new public records transparency law that took effect on Jan. 1 might have pulled back the curtain of secrecy around police personnel records more than first realized.

Senate Bill 1421, authored by State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, revised state open records laws to make previously confidential information about police shootings, uses of force resulting in great bodily harm, and sustained complaints of sexual assault and dishonesty against officers subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. Previously, these types of records, maintained mostly in officers’ personnel files and internal affairs cases, have been closely guarded secrets that law enforcement agencies were prohibited from releasing to the public.

Showdown over Oakland police search policy delays vote

December 16, 2018

The Oakland City Council on Friday rejected both the Police Department and civilian police commission’s competing versions of a new policy for searching people on probation and parole, sending the matter back to the commission to iron out the differences.

 

But the move was viewed as a victory for the relatively new civilian body, which was tasked with helping to shape the Police Department’s discipline and protocol. While Oakland police brass insisted their draft would be the most progressive in the country, the commission argued it didn’t go far enough.

Police Commissioners Spar with Oakland Police Department Over Authority to Revise Search Policy

December 12, 2018

Three members of the Oakland Police Commission made an unusual appeal to the city council last night. They asked council members to hold off on voting on a policy revision because the civilian police commission's version of the new policy was excluded by the city administration in favor of a version drafted solely by the police.

“I am confused because it seems like procedurally, you are all on the wrong track,” Police Commissioner Regina Jackson told council members during a public comment period. “The very first policy we put forward to you, with teeth, is maybe not going to be heard.”
 

Oakland council will decide whether to limit police searches of people on parole, probation

December 07, 2018

Oakland council members pushed forward guidelines Tuesday that would limit when police can search people on probation and parole — a move that drew a sharp rebuke from community members who said it didn’t go far enough.

 

The city’s public safety committee on Tuesday evening rejected a more restrictive recommendation from the Oakland Police Commission that would have required officers to have “reasonable suspicion” that a person on probation or parole was committing a crime before police could search the person or their property.

Council Extends Police Officers’ Contract Early-Avoiding Scrutiny by Commission or Community

November 30, 2018

On the very same day that a federal judge reinstated three of the tasks that the Oakland Police Department was supposed to have completed as part of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement [NSA] now in its 15th year, the outgoing city council including two lame duck members (the third Desley Brooks was absent) performed a sleight-of-hand vote to re-up the existing city contract [MOU] with the police officers’ union.

Oakland Police Commissioner Resigns Calling the Oversight Board's First Year a 'Squandered Opportunity'

November 29, 2018

Andrea Dooley, an alternate member of the Oakland Police Commission, resigned today citing multiple problems that have thrown the commission into disarray and prevented it from undertaking its core responsibilities, including setting policies for the police department and investigating police misconduct.

Federal Judge Faults Oakland Police for Not Complying with Key Reforms

November 28, 2018

In a major setback for OPD, Judge William Orrick reactivates three tasks under the negotiated settlement agreement.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick sharply criticized the Oakland Police Department yesterday during a court hearing that focused on the recently discovered problem of police officers who are underreporting the number of times they use of force, including when they're pointing guns at people.

Further Evidence Emerges that the Oakland Police Under-Reported Use of Force Incidents

November 19, 2018

For the past several years, the Oakland Police Department has claimed that police officers are using substantially less force while making arrests. Supporting this assertion, OPD has published statistics showing a dramatic drop in the number of incidents in which an officer reported using any type of force, including drawing their guns on suspects. Between 2012 and 2017, officers reported a 75 percent decline in use of force.

But two months ago, a federal court-appointed independent monitor for the police department revealed that some use of force incidents weren't being reported by officers.

OPD Cop Caught Making Apparent False Statements After Injury Crash

November 12, 2018

An Oakland police officer claimed he 'stopped fully' before smashing into a motorcyclist and even lectured the person he hurt. But a nearby surveillance camera contradicts his account.

Oakland Police Commission Abruptly Fires Executive Director of Its Investigative Agency

November 12, 2018

The Oakland Police Commission voted last night during a closed session meeting to fire Anthony Finnell, the interim director of commission's civilian agency that investigates allegations of police misconduct.
 

Oakland officers violated policy in chase that resulted in injury, review finds

November 03, 2018

Oakland police officers violated policy and gave inconsistent statements to supervisors after a high-speed pursuit resulted in major injuries to a passenger in the fleeing vehicle, according to a report released Friday by an independent monitor overseeing the Oakland Police Department.

 

The alleged violations were discovered by the department’s Internal Affairs Division and presented to the Executive Force Review Board, which examines certain use-of-force incidents, in-custody deaths and vehicle pursuits that end in death or serious injury.

Oakland police applicants asked to disclose whether they were sexually assaulted

October 21, 2018

A woman, who once applied for a position with the Oakland Police Department - thinks it was her answer to a particular question that was the reason her application denial, stands in front of the National Police Memorial on Friday Oct. 19, 2018 in Washington D.C. - The Oakland Police Department, which has struggled to recruit women into its ranks, requires all officer applicants to disclose whether they have been sexually assaulted before they can be hired, The Chronicle has learned. Other large-city PDs in California say they do not ask the question, and officials in Oakland could not give a clear reason as to why that question is part of their application process, other than to point out that they want to know if applicants have been involved in any police reports, either as victims, witnesses or accused.

Respected Oakland Police Commissioner Mike Nisperos Resigns

October 18, 2018

Oakland Police Commissioner Mike Nisperos plans to resign next month due to the city's residency requirement to serve on the police oversight body.

In an email Nisperos sent to Oakland City Council President Larry Reid last night, Nisperos wrote that his resignation will be effective Nov. 7 because he's moving out of Oakland. Police commissioners must be Oakland residents.

Video shows off-duty Chicago police officer shooting unarmed autistic man

October 18, 2018

Sgt Khalil Muhammad shot then-18-year-old Ricardo Hayes in 2017 incident initially described as an armed confrontation.

Video footage released on Tuesday by a civil rights group shows an off-duty Chicago police officer shooting an unarmed, autistic man during an incident initially described as an armed confrontation.

Sgt Khalil Muhammad shot then-18-year-old Ricardo Hayes as he walked on the city’s South Side. Hayes had wandered away from his home around 5am on 13 August 2017, according to a lawsuit over the shooting filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His caretaker called police, informing them he was autistic.

Oakland police monitor critical of dramatic drop in reported use of force

September 14, 2018

OAKLAND — A federal monitor overseeing reforms in the Oakland police department criticized the city’s reported dramatic drop in use of force, finding cases in which officers never reported drawing their guns on citizens, as required by department policy.

Robert Warshaw, the court-appointed monitor and compliance director, wrote in a report released Thursday that the officers should have reported the incidents as a use of force and supervisors should have caught the omissions.

Oakland police won acclaim for reducing force. But monitor says some cases went unreported

September 14, 2018

An independent monitor overseeing Oakland Police Department reforms called into question the agency’s celebrated decline in use-of-force incidents, saying in a report Thursday that officers on several occasions had failed to properly disclose that they had pointed their guns at subjects or gotten physical with them.

The court-appointed monitor, Robert Warshaw, said he discovered the undocumented uses of force by reviewing police files and watching body-camera footage in a sampling of arrests. He called the omissions “troubling” and opened a wider investigation, declaring he would look into a larger batch of arrests.

State Supreme Court rules disciplinary action can move forward in SFPD bigoted texting scandal

September 14, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) The California Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for disciplinary charges to proceed against nine San Francisco police officers accused of sending racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic text messages  in 2011 and 2012.

The court declined without comment to grant the nine officers' appeal for review of a state Court of Appeal ruling that allowed the San Francisco police chief to pursue the charges before the city's Police 
Commission.

The state high court's denial of a hearing, issued at its San Francisco headquarters, leaves the May 30 Court of Appeal ruling as the final decision in the case.

EXCLUSIVE: There are two sets of rules when it comes to punishing police officers — 'In the NYPD disciplinary system it's not what you did - it's who you know'

September 14, 2018

Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello kept his rank — and lost just a few vacation days — despite being accused of pressuring officers to downgrade felonies to misdemeanors and of running roughshod over minority men in the 81 precinct’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News) 

California Legislature passes major police transparency measures on internal investigations and body cameras

September 03, 2018

Endorsing a dramatic departure from decades of secrecy surrounding policing in the state, California lawmakers have moved to undo some of the nation’s strictest rules keeping law enforcement records confidential, particularly involving officer killings of civilians.

Legislators approved two landmark measures late Friday, one that would give the public access to internal investigations of police shootings statewide, and another that would allow the release of body camera footage of those incidents.

Here's how California became the most secretive state on police misconduct

August 16, 2018

In the 1970s, Los Angeles police officers were furious that past complaints against them increasingly were making their way into court cases.

So LAPD officials did something radical: They took more than four tons of personnel records dating to the 1940s and shredded them.

That decision resulted in the dismissal of more than 100 criminal cases involving officers accused of wrongdoing whose records had been purged, sparking public outrage.

The Legislature responded by passing a law that ensured officer discipline records would be preserved — but also made it nearly impossible for anyone to learn about them. The action, driven by police unions, began a decades-long process that has made California the strictest state in the nation when it comes to protecting police confidentiality.

That could change in the next few weeks, with lawmakers in Sacramento considering a landmark effort to increase disclosure.

In Oakland, More Data Hasn't Meant Less Racial Disparity During Police Stops

August 13, 2018

For more than 15 years, Oakland's police department has been under federal oversight following a police abuse and racial profiling scandal.

As part of a negotiated settlement in 2003, the city agreed to work toward sweeping police reforms. The Riders Settlement mandated ongoing monitoring of the department, including the collection of data on police stops and an end to discriminatory policing.

But there's mounting frustration that federal oversight and better data collection have not led to real change, despite a massive price tag.

OPD's 'precision policing': Fewer arrests, crime is down, racial disparity remains, study shows

August 05, 2018

Oakland police are proud of a new Stanford study highlighting the fact that their officers have been arresting less people and crime has not soared as many in law enforcement had feared; it's actually been going down.

But while the study credited police for having a smaller "footprint" in terms of arrests, the authors noted that in terms of racial disparity, police have made "very little progress." In all, police have arrested 21 percent less people in the last six months under a strategy coined "precision policing." Of that number, police arrested 18 percent less African American people and 34 percent less whites. 

Is it really possible to train implicit bias out of someone?

August 03, 2018

The idea of implicit bias training seems to bring more questions than answers: Is it possible to train someone against racial bias? Was Tuesday's session simply about creating awareness? Was the goal to root out the racism found in all of us or to figure out who is a racist?