Disturbing New Evidence About OPD | East Bay Express by Ali Winston
Can we fire Pope right now? That would be great
OCTOBER 10, 2012
Among other things, the new evidence shows that department trainers and commanders have been telling city residents, and possibly new police recruits, that Oakland cops shoot suspects because they’re no longer allowed to beat them up.According to sworn testimony from Jan Gilbrecht, a private investigator who attended an Oakland Citizens’ Police Academy on May 21, OPD Sergeant Randy Pope told attendees of the academy that Oakland was traditionally a “blue-collar kind of town,” with a “blue-collar police force that maybe in the past was a little ‘hands on’ with folks, liked to put their hands on people and maybe got rough sometimes, but did not have that many officer-involved shootings.”
According to Gilbrecht, Pope then talked about the federal consent decree that mandated reforms of OPD following The Riders scandal early last decade: “Some city lawyers came in and said, ‘We want a white-collar kind of force now,'” and the city agreed to the reforms.
Pope then added that he believes Oakland cops have become less inclined to use physical force on suspects, resulting in fewer complaints, but that they fire their weapons more frequently at suspects.
“What do I know, I just look at the situation and do the math. It’s more physical-use-of-force complaints but more live bad guys on the other hand, versus the NSA and more shootings on the other hand. What do you choose?” Pope asked the audience.The Citizens’ Police Academy is designed to enlist city residents to help police combat crime in Oakland.
Even more alarming is the fact that Sergeant Pope, who lives in the far-East Bay suburb of Oakley, is a firearms and use-of-force instructor at OPD’s training academy for new police recruits. His comments to the citizens’ academy thus raise concerns as to whether he’s repeating the same statements to new police officers, telling them that the federal consent decree leaves them little choice but to shoot suspects. Pope’s comments also are in stark contrast to official statements from OPD brass that the consent decree is not hampering police work. “It’s telling that they’ll say this in a room full of citizens in the Eastmont substation — and it’s completely opposite to what they say in court,”
Chanin said in an interview.The evidence uncovered by Burris and Chanin also offers insight into the contempt that some OPD line officers have for federal Judge Thelton Henderson, a civil rights hero and Carter administration appointee who oversees the consent decree and was responsible for reforming the state’s troubled prison health care system. Henderson will decide whether OPD is put in federal receivership. According to sworn testimony from Nancy Appel, an associate director at the Anti-Defamation League who also attended the spring 2012 Citizens’ Police Academy, Sergeant Greg Porritt told attendees that Judge Henderson “has an agenda,” was “in the SLA [Symbionese Liberation Army]” or represented them in court.
Both are false assertions.
Racially insensitive, defaced photos of Henderson and Mayor Jean Quan that had been posted at OPD headquarters were also included in the court filings. The one of Henderson depicts him with enlarged eyes and exaggerated lips, and one of the images of Quan shows her standing alone by a police car with dragon wings, horns, and slitted eyes drawn on her by a blue pen. There’s also a photo of Quan and former Mayor Ron Dellums that looks as if it was used for a dartboard. The caption stated: “If you thought Ron Dellums was a good Mayor…YOU’LL LOVE JEAN QUAN.”The Express previously reported about a flyer posted on a bulletin board at OPD’s basement training range in winter 2010. According to police sources, the flyer, which superimposed a picture of a World War II fighter pilot over derogatory language about anti-war liberals, was still posted there until August.The several hundred pages of evidence filed by Burris and Chanin trace the past ten years of stop-and-start reform, including the