Oakland’s head of police was fired Wednesday for failing to properly handle an officer’s misconduct.
During a press conference, Mayor Sheng Thao announced she was firing Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong after an investigation revealed that the department, at the behest of Chief Armstrong, failed to properly investigate and discipline a sergeant who was involved in a hit-and-run while on duty.
The officer was also never disciplined after he fired his service weapon inside an elevator at police headquarters. This is the seventh Oakland Police Chief to be fired in as many years.
According to AP, Mayor told reporters she wants to be confident the police chief will be effective “in making improvements that can be recognized by the federal monitor, the federal court and the people of Oakland.”
“I am no longer confident that Chief Armstrong can do the work needed to achieve the vision so, today I have decided to separate Chief LeRonne Armstrong from the city without cause,” said the Mayor.
Thao also said the federal judge overseeing the city “was profoundly disappointed in the evidence he’d seen “and that the report “demonstrates significant cultural problems in the department.”
“In response to a public report that concluded that OPD had repeatedly failed to rigorously investigate misconduct and hold officers accountable, Chief Armstrong said these were not incidents where officers behaved poorly. He stated that he did not believe these incidents reflected systemic problems …he said that officers made ‘mistakes.’ “
Thao continued by saying it would be “inappropriate” to publicly discuss the discipline cases that prompted Armstrong’s firing. “But I can say that it is clear to me that there are systemic issues the city needs to address, and that we cannot simply write them off as “mistakes.”
Armstrong was placed on paid administrative leave last month after a department probe unearthed the chief’s alleged cover-up of the officer’s misconduct.
The probe, which was conducted by the law firm of Clarence Dyer and Cohen, specifically found that Armstrong failed to investigate and discipline Sgt. Michael Chung after his 2021 involvement in a hit-and-run with a parked car at his apartment complex in San Fransisco.
Oakland has a long history of reported abuse of power. According to USA Today, the police department has been under federal oversight for more than two decades.
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