Oakland – This week, Robert Warshaw, The Federal Monitor over the Oakland Police Department released a new report, detailing deception and cover-up at the top of OPD. As many in Oakland’s communities work against police misconduct, we face the institutional leaders that cover-up those actions.
NEWS: Read about Former Oakland Police Chief Kirkpatrick’s lawsuit against the City of Oakland, here.
Compliance Monitor, Robert Warshaw, released this week his report on the shooting of Joshua Pawlik, and the subsequent investigation and public statements by OPD Chief and Mayor which sought to justify the shooting and avoid fully investigating it, stating:
“OPD’s initial press releases and our early conversations with Chief Kirkpatrick and others raised serious concerns that the Department had concluded that the shooting was justified even before its investigations were complete.”
Mr. Warshaw’s report shines a light on OPD, former Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for failing to properly investigate the shooting. According to the report, former Chief Kirkpatrick displayed bias from the start of the investigation, rather than the appropriate objectivity required of her, stating the night that Mr. Pawlik was killed, the shooting “looked good.” In OPD’s investigation, they failed to look at the video evidence and relied heavily on the officers’ account of the events. The Oakland Police Commission was the only aspect of the investigation process that functioned as designed, bringing objectivity and professionalism into the proceedings.
Oakland has had a long history of police misconduct and failure to properly investigate. This has caused the Oakland community to demand that there be greater police accountability. The Compliance Monitor’s report on the Pawlik killing and OPD’s unprofessional investigation that followed such a significant use of force highlights the need for the Oakland Police Commission to be independent and effective, as a civilian oversight body, that is separate from the police chain of command. Oakland voters will have the opportunity to support this independence with the Police Commission ballot measure on the November ballot.
Several months ago, former OPD Chief Kirkpatrick denounced the independent Police Commission, which had disagreed with her handling of the Pawlik investigation. This Federal Monitor report shows that Kirkpatrick’s statements were incorrect, and the Police Commission’s efforts to seek a full and fair investigation are vindicated.