OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The NAACP on Monday held a rally in support of former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who was fired by Mayor Sheng Thao last week. The rally is taking place in front of Oakland City Hall and will include NAACP members as well as city and community leaders from Oakland, according to an NAACP press release about the rally.
At the rally a series of speakers, including former Alameda County Chief Deputy DA, Terry Wiley, argued that Chief Armstrong had been fired unjustly and should be reinstated.
Armstrong was fired by Mayor Thao last week after being placed on administrative leave for a month in relation to a report centered around alleged misconduct from an OPD sergeant. In her remarks following the firing of the chief, Mayor Thao said she had lost confidence in Armstrong’s ability to reform the department, which remains under federal oversight.
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A spokesman for Chief Armstrong, Sam Singer, issued the following statement in response to today’s rally:
“Chief LeRonne Armstrong is deeply honored by the outpouring of community support today at the Oakland City Hall rally. He is overwhelmed with calls, letters, and emails of support. He thanks everyone who has reached out to support him, to call for his re-instatement, and to question the Mayor’s actions.
Chief Armstrong’s legal team will likely initiate the appeal process this week to address Mayor Sheng Thao’s wrongful and retaliatory decision to terminate him.
What other city in America is standing up for its Chief of Police like this? Mayor Sheng Thao has a community revolt on her hands. She has let down the community and deprived Oakland of a homegrown, reform-driven, and accomplished Police Chief who earned the community’s trust the hard way – by delivering on his promises.
There is no doubt the community sees through the false and misleading reports by Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw. The question is why the Mayor didn’t–and instead fired the Chief for pushing back on the monitor’s overblown, unfair criticisms of the Oakland Police Department.
There are two cases that the federal monitor reviewed. In the first, the offending officer was disciplined appropriately based on the information presented to the Chief. In the second case, even the federal monitor’s report concluded the Chief committed no misconduct, which makes sense because the monitor took over that investigation very early in its process.
So why did the Mayor Thao terminate the Chief? She was unwilling to stand up for Oakland, to stand up for what is right, and to fight for justice for Oakland’s residents and Chief Armstrong.”
Chief Armstrong has indicated his firing falls under the realm of wrongful termination, but before he can file a lawsuit against the city in court, he must first file an administrative appeal with the city, which is expected to happen next week. If that is rejected by the city, then the former chief can file a lawsuit against the City of Oakland.