OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Less than 24 hours after Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao fired Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, she gave a one-on-one live interview with KRON4 talking about her decision and the future of the Oakland Police Department.

Thao said she lost confidence in Armstrong because of how he failed to discipline a sergeant who allegedly committed misconduct, and for how the chief later downplayed the seriousness of the misconduct.

The mayor announced Wednesday that Armstrong was fired “without cause.”

On Thursday, Thao told KRON4 that she will not reverse her decision. She’s focused on moving forward and finding a new police chief, the mayor said.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao announces the firing of Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong during a press conference at City Hall in Oakland on Feb. 15, 2023. (Jane Tyska / Bay Area News Group via AP)

Thao said, “It was a terribly difficult decision. I really had to take out any of the personal relationships that I’ve had and really put Oaklanders at the forefront.”

The mayor said her priority is to lift the OPD out from under federal oversight for the first time in two decades. Thao said she lost confidence in Armstrong’s ability to truly reform the police department and meet benchmarks set by the Federal Monitor.

“I know that a lot of people feel many different emotions as we were going through this. However, we have to make sure we are putting what is best for the City of Oakland at the forefront,” Thao told KRON4.

“How we actually implement the vision … and finally get out from federal oversight — it’s more than just checking the boxes. We must have systemic change so that we can show the (Federal) Monitor and the residents of Oakland that the police commission, along with the Mayor’s Office, and the civilian police review board, that we can all work together to ensure there is oversight in Oakland’s police department,” Thao told KRON4.

The mayor said she will work closely with OPD Acting Chief Darren Allison until a permanent new police chief is chosen.

You can watch KRON4’s full one-on-one interview with Mayor Thao in the video player above.

Oakland police chief LeRonne Armstrong speaks to members of the press and supporters in a conference at Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland on Feb. 5, 2023. (Brontë Wittpenn /San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Last month, Armstrong was placed on administrative leave after a scathing independent investigation report was released by Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw. OPD has “serious flaws in the disciplinary process,” investigators concluded.

Armstrong said he did nothing wrong with how he handled internal investigations and discipline for officers accused of misconduct.

He also defended his officers by telling reporters in January, “This is not a scandal. The officers in the Oakland Police Department, whom I am extremely proud of, have been working hard. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have misconduct. It doesn’t mean that every officer is going to be perfect every day. But we have processes in place to hold those officers accountable. These officers are human beings, people are going to make mistakes.”

The mayor took issue with Armstrong’s response to the Federal Monitor’s findings.

Thao told reporters on Wednesday, “Chief Armstrong made a number of statements that troubled me. Chief Armstrong said these were not incidents where officers behaved poorly. He stated that he did not believe these incidents reflected systemic problems. It is clear to me that there are systemic issues. We cannot simply write them off as mistakes.”

The OPD has been subject to a Negotiated Settlement Agreement since 2003. The NSA was created following an explosive case of police officer misconduct. The NSA requires police reforms including internal affairs, supervision of officers, police use of force, training, personnel practices, and community policing.

Oakland’s revolving door of police chiefs

The Oakland Police Department is no stranger to police chiefs making sudden exits.

Howard Jordan served as chief from 2011-2013.

Sean Whent became police chief in 2013, but he resigned in 2016 after several officers were busted in a sex scandal involving an underage call girl, Celeste Guap.

Even more turmoil followed after Whent, when three new police chiefs came and went in less than two weeks. Those chiefs included Ben Fairow and Paul Figueroa.

Anne Kirkpatrick was picked as Oakland’s first female police chief in 2017. She served for three years until she was fired in 2020. Kirkpatrick later won a $1.5-million wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the city.

Armstrong said, “For those that have been around here and have seen many chiefs fall, the common theme when those chiefs fall is it comes on the (Federal) Monitor’s recommendation.”