The Oakland police have been in trouble since 2003, when the Riders case broke and news of the incredibly corrupt and violent practices was aired. A judge at the time gave the OPD five years to institute sweeping reforms. But the cops never did. Now, eight years later, that same judge is taking action.
Judge Strips Power from Oakland Police - The Bay Citizen
A federal judge has granted significant decision-making powers to the monitors charged with overseeing court-ordered reforms at the Oakland Police Department, a move that brings the department one step closer to a federal takeover.
In an order issued late Tuesday, Judge Thelton Henderson wrote that he was in “disbelief” that the department had yet to finish the reforms, adding that the department remains “woefully behind its peers around the state and nation,” and that “words and promises are not enough.”
The department has been under court monitoring since 2003, when the city settled a civil suit over the Riders case, in which several officers were accused of planting drugs on suspects in East Oakland. As a result of the settlement agreement, the department agreed to implement a series of misconduct-related reforms, including an overhaul of disciplinary procedures and use-of-force reporting. But two missed deadlines later, the department has yet to complete the tasks.
“The Court remains in disbelief that Defendants have yet – nine years later – to achieve what they themselves agreed was doable in no more than five years,” Henderson wrote. He canceled a hearing on the case that had been scheduled for Thursday. “As both Plaintiffs and Defendants recognize, something must change if full compliance is to be achieved.”
The order comes just one week after the monitors wrote in their quarterly report that the police response to Occupy Oakland protests this fall raised "serious concerns" about the department's ability to "hold true to the best practices in American policing." The monitors promised a thorough investigation of the matter.
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