A judge said that if the two-year federal oversight of the Oakland police ends soon, the department must take more measures to eliminate internal systemic racism and show that it can properly handle the social networking that shocked the city earlier this year. Media scandal. Week.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick said at a hearing on Wednesday that the department appears to be on track to complete 52 tasks to completely reform itself from racist practices and misconduct.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is closer and brighter than at any time since I participated in this case. I think this is the result of every important participant’s continued commitment to this process,” Orik said. However, he added, “More work needs to be done.”
A week ago, two civil rights lawyers who had long promoted reform of the police department stated in court documents that they believed that sufficient progress had been made to reduce supervision of the department.
Civil rights lawyers Jim Chanin and John Burris wrote in a briefing to the Federal Court last week: “After years of regression, substantial compliance with a number of outstanding tasks… Power.”
Chanin and Burris represented the plaintiffs in a civil case against a group of Oakland police officers called “Knights” who were accused of assaulting black residents, planting drugs on them and falsifying records. Their litigation led to a settlement agreement that required the department to report to external monitors and federal judges on its progress in implementing 52 reform measures.
These measures include recording incidents of the use of force, investigating misconduct by police officers, and eliminating ethnic differences within the military.
Despite the progress, Orik said he is seeking more improvements to reduce the racial disparities being stopped by the police, recruiting police officers “reflecting Auckland’s diversity”, investigating the use of force by police officers, handling complaints of misconduct, and Discipline is applied consistently and fairly. force.
One of the keys to determining how long federal oversight will last is how the department handles an external company’s pending investigation report involving an Instagram account that contains racist, misogynistic posts and mocking police departments for atrocities and use of force. policy.
The account named “@crimereductionteam” posted multiple memes and headlines, mocking efforts to curb police brutality, including policies derived from the ongoing settlement agreement.
“If this report shows that there is racism, misogyny and cultural corruption in OPD, or that some officials do not respect and treat everyone they serve equally, … this will affect the five issues I discussed and make them It is impossible for OPD to fully comply (a negotiated settlement agreement),” Orrick said.
The settlement agreement was reached in 2003 and should have ended within five years, but a series of setbacks and official misconduct scandals allowed it to be maintained.
“The worst atrocities in the history of the Oakland Police Department occurred in the first 10 years,” Channing said at a hearing on Wednesday, citing incidents of police abusing protesters, using immigrant women and giving false testimony.
He said that although the culture began to change in 2012, incidents of misconduct hindered further progress.
For example, in 2016, it was revealed that some police officers in Oakland were members of the East Bay Police and they sexually exploited a teenager. Later, the federal inspector discovered that the department’s investigation into the killing of Joshua Pawlik was improperly handled. He was shot and killed by the police when he woke up after falling asleep with a gun.
Some police critics say that federal oversight should continue.
“Since the absurd idea was last proposed in 2016, the substance has hardly changed. The rape scandal across the department shows how stupid the idea was at the time — it is still the case today,” said James Burch, policy director of the Anti-Police Terrorism Project Said in a statement last week.
The organization also mentioned last year’s protests. Oakland police fired tear gas to local demonstrators to protest the killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis.
But Channing said that although city residents will not forget their “negative experience” with the police, “the officials here cannot cover the past of the Oakland Police Department on them indefinitely.”
Otherwise, he suggested, “They will have no incentive to change.”
The next hearing on the status of the settlement agreement will be held in January, but it is not clear whether Orik will make a ruling at that time.
Even if Orrick believes it has fully complied with the terms of the settlement agreement, the police department will still be in a “sustainable development period” for one year to prove that it can maintain reforms without external supervision.
Mayor Libby Schaaf (Libby Schaaf), who attended the hearing held via Zoom on Tuesday, said that the city’s police committee is about to hire an inspector general to audit and supervise the police station, providing “oversight that we’ve never had in the past. Floor”.
She said it was “the Oaklanders deserve it, regardless of whether the court monitors it or not.”