Oakland – On January 28th, the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee will take up a resolution that should be a slam-dunk. The “revolves” in it sum up what the resolution will do:
RESOLVED: That the City Council reiterates the importance of an independent police commission and that neither the City Administrator nor the Chief of Police are authorized to engage in any actions against Commissioners, nor are they authorized to assume the powers granted to the Council, the ethics commission, or the police commission; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Council hereby amends Resolution No. 87759 C.M.S. to expressly prohibit funds to be used to fund investigative actions against Police Commissioners by the City Administrator or Chief of Police; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Administrator shall not conduct an outside investigation of any police commissioner without Council authorization.
This came in the wake of Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick’s launch of an investigation of Oakland Police Commissioner Ginale Harris. Harris had called 911 on Kristine MacDonald, the head of the Mission Preparatory School in San Francisco, and her staff members. According to sources, San Francisco Police Sargent Jeffrey Alois was reported to have claimed the story could “get back to Oakland (police).”
For reasons not revealed, and by persons not identified, the news of the incident did get back to Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. Moreover, Kirkpatrick and Oakland Chief Administrative Officer Sabrina Landrieth separarely launched investigations of Ginale Harris.
Anne Kirkpatrick’s investigation came after other questionable investigations against Harris – one of them involving an outside investigator that City Administrator Landrieth hired to check out a complaint against Ms. Harris.
In total, none of the efforts to make Ginale Harris look bad bore any fruit. But, they were also done without official City Council or Police Commission authorization, leading to the overall impression that something akin to a shadow government is active in Oakland – one that undermines the actions of Police Commissioners via the injection of fear.
While Kaplan’s resolution doesn’t stop unwarranted Oakland Police or Oakland CAO investigations, it should give the Oakland Police Commission some breathing room. Here’s the resolution report:
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