OAKLAND (KPIX) — Oakland’s Police Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to reject a report exonerating four Oakland police officers in the shooting of an armed homeless man in West Oakland in March 2018.
Commission chair Regina Jackson blasted the report as “flawed.” Jackson said the Community Police Review Agency (CPRA) — the investigative arm of the commission which authored the report — conducted only one interview and failed to videotape the interview, as required by city ordinance. Jackson stressed that her objections to the report were about process and procedure, not the outcome of the report.
“This current report is tainted,” Jackson said. “It has been politicized by CPRA. Basic, required investigative procedures were not followed. The public and the commission’s confidence is shaken.”
In an extraordinary move, the commission also voted to subpoena any communications, including text messages and e-mails between CPRA investigators and the Oakland police department.
Reached by phone, Jackson confirmed that the goal of a subpoena would be to establish whether there was any collusion between the department and CPRA investigators that might have influenced the findings.
Activists applauded the commission’s decision to issue a subpoena.
“If CPRA is having back-channel conversations with OPD and other city agencies, the police commission is absolutely within its rights to look into it,” said Henry Gage III, of the Coalition for Police Accountability.
But Barry Donelan, a spokesman for the Oakland Police Officers Association, called the commission’s actions “an effort to persecute these officers who put their lives on the line to protect our citizens.”
Donelan said the officers have been cleared by five different investigations, including by the Office of Internal Affairs at OPD, the Executive Force Review Board, the chief of police, the District Attorney’s office and now, CPRA.
“Those officers should be back at work, serving the citizens of Oakland,” Donelan said. “They’ve been vindicated.”
But the officers have not been vindicated by Robert Warshaw, compliance director and federal monitor of the Oakland police department.
In March, Warshaw released a report questioning whether officers violated use of force policy and calling chief Anne Kirkpatrick’s review of the incident “disappointing and myopic.”
After the release of Warshaw’s report, the officers were placed on administrative leave. The commission is expected to consider whether another investigation is warranted.