New details come to light in the latest Oakland Police Department misconduct scandal

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OAKLAND — Additional details surfaced Friday regarding the actions of an Oakland police sergeant that led to a damning report on investigations into department misconduct and the fact that Chief LeRonne Armstrong has been placed on paid leave.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and city manager Ed Reiskin issued a statement Thursday evening that Armstrong was placed on furlough after denouncing the recent report of the Oakland Police Department’s violation of its own policies by independent law firm Clarence Dyer. & Cohen LLP had acknowledged.

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Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong will hold a briefing on December 29, 2022 on the death of a 2-year-old Ja’Mari Madkins, who was found dead on December 23, 2022 in Napa County.

Oakland Police Department


“The decision was not taken lightly, but we believe it is critical to the safety of our community that we build trust between the Department and the public,” the statement said. “We must have transparency and accountability to move forward as a safer and stronger Oakland.”

The Oakland Police Department confirmed Friday that the decision to give Chief Armstrong paid administrative leave was made jointly by the mayor and city manager Reiskin.

Officials said assistant chief Darren Allison will serve as acting chief effective immediately.

READ ALSO: Chief Armstrong’s departure marks the latest twist in the Oakland Police Department’s troubled history

“Oakland and its police have taken the negotiated settlement agreement very seriously and have taken a number of steps to improve our accountability and transparency systems,” the statement said. “As part of that decision, we must hold agents accountable when they violate public trust.”

The sergeant’s first offense, according to the report, was allegedly leaving the scene of a March 2021 hit-and-run in which he was involved and failing to report the hit-and-run. The sergeant was driving a police car when the collision occurred.

The second offense involved the alleged accidental firing of a gun in April 2022 in the freight elevator of police headquarters and waiting a week to report it. The sergeant also allegedly removed evidence of the dismissal.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Oakland Police Chief has been placed on administrative leave

Clarence Dyer and Cohen’s report concluded in part that the internal affairs department “attempted to review, deflect, and minimize the severity of the officer’s misconduct.”

That “created an environment where that officer could continue to commit much grosser and more dangerous misconduct” with the firing of the gun at police headquarters.

The report said leaving the scene of the collision amounted to a hit-and-run, but the internal affairs department found that “the officer had not violated any department rule requiring obedience to laws.”

Armstrong reportedly did not allow “extensive discussion” of the collision or request that video be shown of it during a regular briefing.

Instead, Armstrong quickly approved the recommended finding against the sergeant for being involved in an avoidable collision, but not for the hit-and-run. Armstrong also signed the report of the investigation without reading it.

The new alleged case of police misconduct in Oakland has drawn strong backlash from those who have worked — in some cases for decades — to reform the department.

The Oakland Police Department has been under federal supervision for more than 20 years since a civil rights lawsuit was filed against the city in 2000.

A group of officers known as the Riders were charged with beating black residents, planting drugs and falsifying records.

The department had made major improvements in complying with court-mandated reforms. Now new allegations could set OPD back again.

“Lots and lots of good work has been done, I thought. So I definitely thought I was approaching the finish line,” said attorney John Burris.

Burris was one of the attorneys who filed the 2000 lawsuit against Oakland in the “Riders” case.

OPD was on track to end federal monitoring in May.

“So now we have to stop, reassess, see what needs to be done to prevent something like this from happening. It may not be ready in the May period we expected, but however long it takes, we will do it.” Burris added.

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