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Indybay Feature
Mon Aug 4 2014 (Updated 08/05/14)
Robert Roche Reinstatement: Oakland Police Impunity Continues
Mon Aug 4 2014 (Updated 08/05/14)
Three-Time Killer Reinstated After Being Fired for Throwing CS Flash-Bang at Scott Olsen
Seconds after an Oakland police officer shattered Scott Olsen’s skull with a lead-filled munition on October 25, 2011, officer Robert Roche threw an explosive teargas grenade at persons who were attempting to come to Olsen’s aid as he lay critically injured on the ground in clear view of the police. Roche was subsequently fired, but on July 30, 2014, an arbitrator overturned the termination and reinstated him with full back pay. Roche officially returned to work at OPD on Monday, August 4.

Robert Roche is known as a three-time killer. In Oakland, on duty, Roche has killed Ronald Brazier, Jose Buenrostro, and Jeremiah Dye. In TV news footage from October 25, 2011, Roche’s helmet number is visible, and there is no dispute that he threw the CS Blast towards Scott Olsen, who was unconscious and bleeding from the head, and those who had rushed to his aid. Roche's actions as an Oakland police officer have cost the Oakland taxpayers almost $6 million in civil settlements to date.

The arbitrator’s decision is not unexpected. In twelve out of the last fifteen personnel arbitrations in which OPD officers challenged their terminations, the officers were successful in getting their jobs back. And the lack of accountability at OPD goes beyond rank and file officers. The arbitrator’s decision was apparently based in part on the fact that Roche had been ordered to deploy gas by then-Captain Paul Figueroa. At the same time, Figueroa authorized the use of “beanbag” impact munitions, on persons who might attempt to throw the teargas devices back at the police. It was inevitable that Scott Olsen and others would be seriously injured or killed, yet Figueroa was not disciplined and has since been promoted to Assistant Chief.

photoRead More | videoScott Olsen speaks out against the reinstatement of Robert Roche

Previous Related Indybay Features: Petition Demands OPD Be Prohibited from Using "Less Lethal" Weapons at Protests | $4.5 Million Settlement Reached In Scott Olsen’s Lawsuit for “Less Lethal” Shooting by OPD | Oakland Occupiers Defiant After Police Raid, Mass Arrests, and Tear Gas/Projectile Attacks
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