OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Fired Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fighting back against her sudden termination Monday, telling KPIX 5 she feels blindsided and wants a Department of Justice investigation into the city’s actions.
Oakland’s former top cop said she shocked when Mayor Libby Schaaf personally went to her home to tell her she was fired last week.
During an interview Monday, Kirkpatrick fired back, saying she felt an issue she had with a member of the Oakland Police Commission may have led to her dismissal.
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The sudden move by the Oakland Police Commission and Mayor Schaaf came Thursday evening. The seven elected volunteer members of the Oakland Police Commission have the power to fire a police chief without cause with the mayor’s approval.
Kirkpatrick told KPIX 5 that she had gotten positive feedback from both the mayor and the federal monitor.
“The mayor praises me but I’m terminated. I don’t understand,” said Kirkpatrick. “Even the federal monitor, who was here with me three weeks ago, says to me in his closing meeting, one-on-one; he said, ‘Anne, you are deep in the red zone. If you are a football fan like I am, it means you’re real close to the goal line.”
The termination has left the former chief shaken.
“I am saddened. I’m embarrassed. I’m humiliated by it. But I will embrace that. I will move on,” said Kirkpatrick.
The Oakland Police Officers Association has publicly voiced its disappointment over the firing. Kirkpatrick said in her 38 years of law enforcement, she has never come close to being terminated.
KPIX asked Kirkpatrick what she planned to do next.
“Well, there still needs to be a voice that is willing to speak truth,” replied Kirkpatrick. “I will be asking the Department of Justice to come in and open an inquiry into this whole reform process. Because something is wrong.”
Kirkpatrick said she stands by all of her calls in judgment, specifically when she refused to fire four Oakland police officers for the shooting death of Joshua Pawlik, even when the city police commission and a federal monitor overseeing the department called for the firing.
“My integrity is not up for sale,” said Kirkpatrick. “I make my calls, whether it’s in the shooting or not.”
Kirkpatrick told KPIX she believes in a citizens’ oversight committee and supports it, but questions where the checks and balances are.
“They can be advisory commissioners, which most police commissions are. Some commissions have authority over discipline. But to have the authority to terminate the police chief is an extraordinary power that I think even the residents of Oakland are surprised.”
Kirkpatrick also said she was asked to do a favor for a police commissioner. When she refused, she asked the city and intervene because she was concerned about retaliation.
The former chief promised that more details would be forthcoming soon.