There’s just one major problem for Anne Kirkpatrick, the ex-Oakland Police Chief fired last week who’s threatening legal action: her own contract reads that she serves at the pleasure of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and does not mention the Oakland Police Commission. This disagreement among documents is reflective of Oakland’s dysfunction, but works for Mayor Schaaf, and against former Chief Kirkpatrick, who seems to think she was the untouchable czar of Oakland.
Upset over her ouster, Anne Kirkpatrick has gone on a racially-divisive media tour that has split much of the electorate into Oakland’s classic ‘white flatlands versus black and Latino flatlands’ camps, once again. Kirkpatrick even threatened to go to the President Donald Trump-ran Justice Department to complain about Oakland. That, alone, brings up past images of Trump blasting Mayor Schaaf – a fact that could work in Libby’s favor and against Kirkpatrick in the long run. But, I digress.
Oakland Ex-Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick Contract Gives Schaaf Exclusive Fate Over Her Future
If anyone has doubts about, go back to City of Oakland Ordinance 13420, the January 26th, 2017 law that cemented the compensation of Anne Kirkpatrick. It reads as follows:
WHEREAS, in December 2016, City Administrator Sabrina B. Landreth appointed Anne Kirkpatrick as the permanent Police Chief for the Oakland Police Department; and WHEREAS, City Administrator Landreth has negotiated an employment agreement with Chief Kirkpatrick that requires the City Council’s approval of the two-and-a-half-year contract term, with an option given to the Mayor to renew the employment agreement, in his or her sole discretion and without City Council approval, for one (1) additional twoand-a-half year term as described in the Employment Agreement attached hereto as…
In other words, past mid-year 2019, a time clock was triggered which gave Mayor Schaaf exclusive power to fire the Chief of Police. It did not mention the Oakland Police Commission at all. Moreover, Oakland’s “Strong Mayor” form of government gives The Mayor power to hire and fire department heads – including the Chief of Police.
Thus, what Mayor Schaaf did was of her own choosing, and something she has the power to do. Given the fact that the Oakland City Council affirmed the Oakland Police Commission’s powers to remove the Chief of Police, thus setting up a legal conflict with its own “Strong Mayor” system, Schaaf made a smart decision to couch her action of firing Oakland Police Chief Kirkpatrick in with the vote of the Oakland Police Commission to remove her.
Chief Kirkpatrick should refocus her public message and stop trying to divide the City with threats of exposing officials. The Oakland Police killing of Joshua Pawlik (shot 22 times with AR-15 rifles by four OPD officers – for just having a gun and all caught on video where Pawlik made no threatening action) and Demouria Hogg (shot while sleeping in a car) stands at the center of the many reasons why not just the Oakland Police Commission wanted Kirkpatrick removed, but the court-appointed monitor Robert Warshaw (paid to monitor OPD under the Negotiated Settlement Agreement) reportedly wasn’t shedding any tears, either, because he was disturbed over those actions.
The Oakland Police Commission evolved as a reaction to the many racially-focused injustices some Oakland Police Officers have done to some in Oakland’s African American community and going all the way back to the Riders case of 2001. The Police Commission’s existence gives Mayor Schaaf the appropriate political cover to fire Kirkpatrick, but the truth is, she didn’t need it.
Anne Kirkpatrick will not win a legal battle against the City of Oakland. Rather than work to use the media to racially divide Oakland, she should let go and focus on her own future. And the idea that all of Oakland’s Police are upset that Kirkpatrick was fired is wrong, and because no one in the media bothered to ask Oakland’s black police officers. The same ones who complained, just last year, of racist working conditions.
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