The cautiously optimistic oversight of the victims’ attorneys will finish quickly – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (BCN) – By January, the victim’s lawyers hope to end federal oversight of the Oakland Police Department, civil rights attorney John Burris said Friday.
But at least four of the 52 tasks that police must complete are still pending, Burris said.
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Even after the police have completed the remaining duties, they must maintain compliance for a year in order to be removed from custody.
“A lot of good work has been done,” Burris said, and the police have made progress.
African Americans are not handcuffed as they were before when police handcuffed blacks, not whites, Burris said.
Body-worn cameras help hold officers accountable and people have cell phones, Burris said.
The police cannot force a person into submission, he added, and people are not body searched in public.
“We have a lot of positive points here,” he said.
Federal oversight began in 2003 after 119 Oakland citizens launched civil rights proceedings in 2000 for police misconduct. Four officers known as the Riders are believed to have beaten, falsely arrested and provided evidence against Oakland residents.
“We have cautious optimism that the Department can enter the final stages of this long process,” wrote Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw in its latest report on oversight.
Warshaw said, “Robust and comprehensive reviews of the use of force are of paramount importance.
“Eliminating internal and external disparities, be it who is stopped and why, or who is being disciplined and who is not, should help lay the foundation for sustainable reform,” said Warshaw.
“I want this to end here,” said Burris.
The case took way too long, according to Burris, who said it shouldn’t have lasted more than seven years.
However, according to Burris, the police did not initially buy into it. The police didn’t think they would be held accountable, he said.
He is happy to see the overall drop in police controls among African Americans, but more can be done and the data on controls per capita are worrying.
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Lawyers are using police control data to determine if racial profiling is taking place, Burris said.
Police shootings have declined and almost non-existent, but there are still differences in arrest, Burris said. In addition, the police do not activate their body-worn cameras in time, he said.
His biggest criticism concerns the speed of the internal investigation, which should be completed in 180 days.
He also has some concerns about the consistency of discipline. the question of whether African American officers are disciplined more often than white officers. Because officers compete and discipline affects an officer’s entire career, he said.
He and other lawyers on the case want to start discussions about where the police department is complying, what can be done to get there, and how to get there.
Like Warshaw, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong was cautiously optimistic.
“I’m cautiously optimistic about our appearance in court yesterday,” Armstrong said Thursday during a press conference on the ongoing violence in the city.
“I feel that we are making progress with our negotiated settlement agreement,” he said, adding that the police completed three more tasks over the past month.
But the police still have a lot to do, he said.
Burris said the community expressed disbelief when news broke that federal oversight may end.
Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project and executive director of the Justice Teams Network, said, “The Oakland Police Department continues to terrorize the Black and Brown Oaklanders with impunity.
“You haven’t completed your court-ordered negotiating duties,” said Brooks. They continue to lie through their teeth, including about violence against the youth of Oakland. The community should decide when this supervision ends – and at the moment we say NO. “
But like others, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “I am cautiously optimistic and really want to congratulate the department on this hard work,” said Schaaf of the possibility of the oversight being ended.
She said it was a community effort to reform the Oakland police force.
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