Federal Judge Threatens Oakland Police Department With Court Takeover Over Ongoing Abuses
Tue, 11/01/2011 - TRUTHOUT
Due to past law enforcement abuses,
the Oakland Police Department (OPD) has been operating under the monitoring of a federal judge overseeing a consent decree since 2003.
Although it is difficult to set aside the deplorable record of the OPD in dealing with protesters for a moment - including Occupy Oakland advocates last Tuesday - it has a history of using excessive force on a daily basis. This includes the unnecessary drawing of guns, extortion and framing arrested individuals that is so egregious that the department may be put into receivership by the federal courts.
According to a September 11, 2011 article in the Bay Citizen, just a little over a month prior to the infamous Tuesday assault on Occupy Oakland, the federal judge overseeing the police department lambasted their conduct:
In a hearing that exposed the breadth of the problems facing Oakland, a federal judge blasted the Oakland Police Department Thursday for failing to make court-ordered changes designed to reduce police misconduct and abuse.Shortly prior to the assault on Occupy Oakland, the superintendent of the OPD resigned - after the scathing report by the federal judge - and Howard Jordan was appointed as interim chief of police. What was Jordan's prior role as assistant chief of the OPD? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Jordan:
Before a courtroom full of city leaders and police department brass, U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson highlighted a series of issues that "indicate to me the city and the department still don't get it."
has been the Police Department's top authority on bringing the force into compliance with a consent decree ordered after four officers were accused more than a decade ago of systematically beating and framing suspects.Jordan, as interim superintendent, oversaw and directed the police action against Occupy Oakland supporters.
The consent decree is the most critical issue facing the department, as a federal judge warned last week that the city faces the possibility of having its Police Department placed in federal receivership due to its failure to fully comply with the court order. Such a move could result in the city losing control over its police budget, its biggest general fund expense.
This federal consent decree is separate from the accord that the OPD was compelled to reach in 2004, which prohibits the use of potentially lethal and harmful suppression techniques against peaceful crowds, which BuzzFlash at Truthout pointed out they violated last week.
There's a thin blue line in law enforcement between enforcing the law and breaking the law. It's clear to US District Court Judge Henderson that the OPD keeps crossing that line.