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Judge Keeps Oakland Police Monitor As Critics Back Suspended Chief

A federal judge kept a federal monitor for the Oakland Police Department in place. The monitor was appointed more than 20 years ago after a string of scandals including police brutality and sexual assault. A new scathing report describes multiple failures of the department’s internal investigations of a sergeant, Courthouse News Service reports.  U.S. District Judge William Orrick III said the police department must demonstrate full compliance with all tasks the monitor assigned to demonstrate internal reform.  Assistant Chief Darren Allison is serving as acting chief while Chief LeRonne Armstrong is on leave after a report that internal investigators mishandled a sergeant who failed to report crashing his police vehicle and who fired his gun inside a city building. The city is in the middle of leadership change, as Mayor Sheng Thao just took office and an interim city administrator is being sought. At a demonstration Tuesday at the Alameda County courthouse, the NAACP Oakland branch attacked Thao and city administrators’ decision to put Armstrong on leave, saying “Chief LeRonne Armstrong did nothing wrong.” The organization wants Thao to reinstate Armstrong and investigate the federal monitor. 

Local leaders, including the African American and Chinatown Chambers of Commerce chiefs Cathy Adams and Carl Chan, support Armstrong because he is from Oakland and well known. They do not want the city to hire another chief. "I recognize that there’s been problems over the years," Armstrong told the crowd. "I’m trying to fix the problems, I need your help.” He added, “If you want to pick a fight with somebody, Oakland is the wrong place to do it!” – to which the crowd responded by chanting “Fight! Fight!” Several hours later, Orrick reviewed the city and plaintiffs' reports in the federal monitor case. The city claims staff learned about incidents involving Sgt. Michael Chung on Jan. 18 through independent firm Clarence Dyer & Cohen. The firm detailed a March 2021 incident where Chung crashed his vehicle and did not report the incident. In April 2022, Chung fired his gun inside an elevator at the Police Administration Building and did not report it for more than a week.


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