OAKLAND (KCBS/AP)— A federal judge is losing patience with the Oakland Police Department over the sluggish pace of its investigation into possible officer misconduct during last fall’s Occupy protests.
City leaders are now working overtime to complete a report by a Monday deadline after U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson gave them an extension this past Tuesday.
The report needs to address several court-ordered police reforms stemming from the city’s 2003 settlement of the early 90s Riders police misconduct case where they agreed to end federal civil litigation. Henderson has threatened to place the police department under federal takeover if they fail to meet the settlement’s requirements.
As part of that settlement, the city agreed to complete all police internal affairs investigations within 180 days of a complaint being made.
Now the city could soon face federal fines if the police department doesn’t reduce a backlog of officer misconduct complaints. Over 1,000 police brutality complaints were filed last October and November during the Occupy protests.
In response the city has placed at least three contracts out to bid for private investigators it intends to use to help quicken the pace of police internal affairs investigations.
The city administrators office said at least 12 private investigators have been qualified to bid on the project.
But a private firm told the San Francisco Chronicle, that nearly six months after last falls protests, where former U.S. Marine Scott Olsen was critically injured when he was hit in the head (allegedly by a beanbag round fired by an Oakland SWAT team) that the city had still not even put the job out to bid.
In the meantime it promises to be a working weekend for many Oakland city leaders.
Police Chief Howard Jordan was engaged in high-level meetings at Police Headquarters Friday night to address the issue, and said he’ll be back at it up until the deadline.
“We take the judge’s orders and everything that has to do with the settlement agreement very seriously,” Jordan said
Mayor Jean Quan was in attendance too. “We’re going to help them find money so that their systems for their data for compliance and for crime fighting can be done more quickly,” Quan said.
The mayor claimed that policies have changed since last fall and said it was a much better experience between police and demonstrators during last Tuesday’s May Day march.
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