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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Let's Make a Strong Police Commission with Power to Discipline Officers a Reality in Oakland
The Coalition for Police Accountability (CPA) is working towards a November 2016 ballot measure, drafted by Oakland residents, to establish a Police Commission that oversees, monitors and holds accountable the city's Police Department. A strong Police Commission in Oakland will: Create a more effective police department; Hold police accountable; Deter police misconduct; Sustain NSA reforms; End discriminatory policing; Save taxpayer money; Promote 21st century policing standards; Promote transparency and public engagement. You can help make this happen!
The Oakland Police Department has been under the supervision and effective control of a Federal judge since 2003. The Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) the City of Oakland agreed to, resulting from a pattern of police misconduct and racial profiling, was supposed to last no more than five years. We're now in our 13th year, the longest period of continuous Federal oversight in American history! It's been very costly; Oakland has paid more than $30 million dollars in external monitoring and related costs in to implement the sustainable reforms that would lead to the end of the NSA.
Since 2003 we have had four Mayors, seven City Administrators, and five Police Chiefs. Real reform is not just a matter of getting a good police chief; it requires actually changing the City government itself. We need a City institution that represents the communities the police are intended to serve.
Crime remains a major issue in Oakland as does a lack of trust in the police within communities of color. These two problems go together. Until the community trusts the police, there will be no significant reduction in crime. That trust cannot be earned until the Oakland Police Department achieves and sustains the reforms the City agreed to.
The Coalition for Police Accountability includes many organizations and community leaders in Oakland who are united in the belief that we need genuine and effective civilian oversight of the police. Over the past year the Coalition has developed Measure X, an amendment to the Oakland City Charter that turns the current Citizens' Police Review Board (CPRB), which can do no more than recommend discipline, into an agency of a Police Commission that has real power to approve police policies and, after an evidentiary hearing, to discipline officers who are found guilty of misconduct.
As a Charter amendment, Measure X can only be enacted by a majority of Oakland citizens voting at an election. The Coalition is working hard to get it on the ballot this year and we need help.
We are asking you to donate online at our website: http://www.coalitionforpoliceaccountability.org as a single payment or in the form of recurring monthly payments. You can also write a check to the Coalition for Police Accountability and mail to 2624 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland CA 94601. Or, please consider hosting a house party which could raise that amount and also help to educate Oakland voters on this issue.
We have done all we can with very limited resources, but we need your help if we are to succeed in November.
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2002 “Riders” class action law suit 120 Black complainants accused 19 OPD officers of planting drugs, kidnapping, excessive force, etc.
Result was mandated reforms — Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA).
During the NSA, the City of Oakland paid more than $74 million in lawsuits due to police misconduct and $30 million in Court monitoring costs.
Oakland is still not fully compliant after 13 years — longer than any other US city, e.g., STOP data shows disparate stops and searches of African-American residents.
Community policing weakened — 57 NCPCs reduced to 35.
Wrongful officers are insufficiently disciplined and remain on force, wasting police budget and precious city resources.
Police-community relations strained, even the best police officers lack credibility
with community, especially in the assistance of crime-solving.
Neither Mayors Brown, Dellums, Quan and Schaaf, nor City Administrators Edgerly, Lindheim, Ewell, Blackwell, Santana, Blackwell, Gardner, and Landreth, nor Police Chiefs Word, Tucker, Batts, Jordan and Whent have been able to achieve NSA compliance.
Current system of local oversight proven ineffective.
The Community must have a mechanism to hold OPD accountable for achieving and sustaining reforms.
It’s time for a Solution! Oakland Police Oversight NOW!
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Section 604 — Oakland Police Commission
(a) Creation and Role.
1. There is hereby established the Oakland Police Commission (hereinafter, Commission) which shall oversee the Police Department in order to ensure that its policies, practices, and customs conform to constitutional policing and best practices and are responsive to all of Oakland's communities. The Commission shall establish a Community Police Review Agency (hereinafter, Agency) which shall have functions as set forth below.
2. The Commission is an independent Department of the City and shall not be represented by the City Attorney for matters within its functions and duties. With respect to its employees, including those of the Agency, the Commission shall, subject to Article IX of this Charter, have the sole power to appoint, assign, reassign, discipline and remove. The Commission shall have the functions and duties regarding the Oakland Police Department enumerated in this Section.