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Black Coalition Sends Open Letter to Mayor Schaaf Demanding Answers on OPD Actions

by Oakland Post
We, the undersigned, are concerned by your lack of control over the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the resulting impact on the African American community. The Department’s continuing lack of respect for the African American community as evidenced by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt’s recent report, and OPD’s failure to address systemic racial inequities in policing policies after 14 years of a Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) is extremely problematic.
Historically, Oakland’s African American communities have been besieged with crime. Residents are treated as suspects when we are victims. We are arrested at disproportionate rates. Far too often we have had to suffer the indignities of officers who are less respectful; and we have tolerated elected and appointed officials who seem incapable or unwilling to meaningfully address these longstanding issues. Our tolerance has worn thin. We don’t want any more apologies; protestations of accountability; or good intentions. Oakland’s African American community demands strategic engagement, transparent actions aligned to firm deadlines and the elimination of excuses for inaction.

The recent scandals, cover-ups; and reports set forth below have severely tarnished OPD’s reputation and image throughout the community. Our confidence in you and the Department have been severely diminished. We respectfully seek answers to the questions below to begin the process to repair the relationship with our community, and to restore our confidence and trust.

Stanford Report issued March 26, 2017, Demonstrating Lack of Respectfulness of African Americans by OPD Officers.

1. Please specify what tangible steps will be taken to address the issues raised by Dr. Eberhardt’s recently released report.
2. The timeline for implementation.
3. The methods to evaluate success.

Recent Las Vegas Street/Muhammad Mosque Incidents.

The Las Vegas Street incident and the recent Muhammad Mosque incident are eerily similar. In both, a white man terrorized African Americans unfettered while OPD responded with great patience and tolerance for the suspect. In the Las Vegas incident despite the shooting his weapon at a homeless African American gentleman, OPD waited a week before taking definitive action. At the Mosque OPD allowed the suspect to remain in his apartment unfettered for two hours.

Rather than exercise procedural justice with the victims, the members of the Mosque, OPD exercised procedural justice with the white suspect.

1. Please indicate all policy changes and corrective steps taken after the Las Vegas incident to address OPD’s inadequate response. Please provide copies. If no action was taken, why explain why not.
2. Please explain why these procedures were not implemented in the recent Mosque incident.
3. Please provide a written critical incident review/after action report for both incidents.
4. Please provide copies of all policies and procedures utilized by officers responding to both incidents.
5. Provide a copy of the policy regarding notification of Council/Mayor.

Recent Promotions

The recent expedited promotion of Assistant Chief John Lois and Captain Roland Holmgren are troubling at best. Both gentlemen are implicated in public records, the Swanson report, and various media outlets in conduct which calls into question their supervisory abilities, leadership, judgement, and compliance with the requirements of the negotiated settlement agreement. Given this cloud, it would have been prudent to complete any investigation prior to their promotion. Unfortunately, the public is now left with the assumption that you either don’t care about these potential transgressions, or that you condone their behavior because in the face of this information, and absent a transparent investigation which completely exonerates them, you promoted them.

1. Please advise whether you will conduct a transparent investigation of the allegations against these individuals.

Swanson Report Uncovers a Culture of Cover-Ups.

It appears that none of the officers or supervisors who observed the misconduct in the Guap matter were ever investigated, and if appropriate, disciplined by the Oakland Police Department. This is true even though they failed to report the misconduct, stop the misconduct, or discipline their subordinates for the misconduct.

1. Please prepare a list of every incident in the Swanson report that OPD believes constituted potential misconduct and/or deficient performance and procedures and investigate and/or make inquiries accordingly.
2. Please state whether any allegation of potential misconduct referenced above that was investigated was sustained or not sustained.
3. Please state what was the discipline that was imposed regarding any allegation that was sustained.
4. Please state whether any of the incidents that constituted potential misconduct and/or deficient performance and procedure was not investigated and give the reason for the failure to investigate said incidents/behavior.
5. Please state, for each incident that constituted potential misconduct and/or deficient performance and procedure the date of the occurrence and the 3304 date.
6. if you have determined that any of the incidents/behavior referenced above that cannot be investigated because of the deadlines imposed by Government Code 3304 or for some other reason please set forth the reason.
7. Please identify the person(s) most responsible for any of the incidents/behavior that should have been investigated and were not investigated.
8. Please state whether the person(s) identified in Number 6 above will be subject to discipline and if so, whether it will be conducted in a timely manner and who will be responsible for the investigation.

The community demands and deserves an effective, respectful, and accountable police force. The issues raised above must be fully addressed as they have an adverse effect on already tenuous community inter-actions with the Department. We look forward to your thorough response. Please provide responses to each question within 15 days to the address listed above. Upon receipt of your responses we look forward to meeting with you to determine next steps.


Desley Brooks, Oakland City Council, District 6
Keith Carson, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 5
Darleen Brooks, Former Member, Democratic Central Committee
Aaron Goodwin, Former Commissioner, Alameda County Oakland Coliseum JPA
Frank Tucker, Former President, 100 Black Men
Jumoke Hinton Hodge. BOE Director District3 OUSD
Bishop Keith Clark, Word Assembly of Churches
Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Senior Pastor, First A.M.E. Church Oakland
Rev. L. J. Jennings, Senior Pastor, Kingdom Builders Christian Fellowship
Rev. Dr. Gerald Agee, Friendship Christian Center
Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, St., Church By The Side Of The Road
Rev. Raymond E. Lankford, Healthy Communities, Inc.
Rev. Dr. Lawrence Van Hook, Pastor, Community Church
Rev. Brondon Reems, Pastor, Center of Hope Community Church
Rev. Maria Reems, Pastor, Center of Hope Community Church
D’Wayne Wiggins, Internationally Known Recording Artist, Toni, Tony, Tone
Siri Brown, Ph.D. Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Peralta Community College District
Michelle Hailey, Real Estate Agent
Assata Olugbala, Community Advocate
Elena Serrano, Member, Eastside Arts Alliance
Candice Elder, East Oakland Collective
Tony Coleman, Bikes 4 Life
Toni Cook, Former Director, BOE Oakland Unified School District
Dr. Lynn Dodd, Administrator, Educational Leadership
Pamela Price, Attorney
Carroll Fife, Director, Community Advocate
Nehanda Imara, Community Advocate
Gus Newport, Former Mayor, City of Berkeley
Simone Delucchi, Program Coordinator
Tonya Love, Community Advocate
Monetta O. Gilbert, Community Member
Ryane Yarborough, Community Member
Jiayu He, Community Member
Martinet Phan, Community Member
Simone Thelemaque, President, BWOPA, Oakland/Berkeley Chapter
Charles Washington, Community Member

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