OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The Oakland Police Department is inching closer towards ending federal oversight that’s lasted 20 years as a result of multiple scandals, beatings and more.
Wednesday, a federal judge said that he plans to issue an order in the next week that will lay out what the department can expect over the next year.
Judge William Orrick’s order is expected reveal when the police department can begin its one-year probationary period to end the oversight.
City leaders are calling the move monumental for the department.
“We do recognize that today marks a milestone in a continual journey towards Oakland’s reforms,” Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said.
Schaaf joined Police Chief Leronne Armstrong on Wednesday after a judge left the city with hope. He plans to issue an order next week that will detail when the department can enter into its one year probation period to end federal oversight.
“Right now I think we’re going to wait on the judge’s order to give us clarity on what the judge would like to see from the department moving forward but I think we can acknowledge by the CMC filings, by the plaintiff’s attorneys as well as some of the things we just spoke of, they all recognize the department has made tremendous strides so we look forward to what the judge’s final ruling will be,” Armstrong said.
A class action lawsuit in 2000, where six men in West Oakland argued they were falsely arrested on drug charges, assaulted and framed by police, resulted in the 20 plus years of federal oversight.
While the officers were found not guilty in criminal court, the civil case led to a settlement that required the department to complete 51 tasks to improve the way it trains and disciplines its officers. All of those tasks but one have been completed.
Plaintiff’s Attorney John Burris has been monitoring the change over the years. He explains that court oversight will continue over the next year if the department moves into that probationary period.
“I wanted to make sure Black officers were treated fairly within the department and the way that had to be done was within a consistency of discipline,” Burris said.
“That is a task that has not been completed yet but is one that I think will get done within the next six months as part of the sustainability period. That will continue, it’s just at a reduced investment of time where before they did it on a semi weekly or monthly basis. That will not take place, will only be three or four months and only for certain tasks.”
Last week the city attorney’s office and attorneys in this case filed a joint statement to Judge Orrick saying they are open to starting the one-year transition into the probationary period to end federal oversight.