OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – On Thursday, the Oakland Police Commission held a town hall to discuss if they should recommend the mayor to reinstate former Oakland police chief LeRonne Armstrong. Attendees were eager to share their opinions on the matter.
People came out to the town hall and they overwhelmingly supported former Armstrong being reinstated. Very few people spoke against him being reinstated.
“Not surprised,” said Oakland Police Commission Chair Tyfahra Milele. “We have had five public forums. We have heard from 350 people before tonight. Over and over again we heard the same thing when we ask, ‘What do you want in a new chief?’ They say we want LeRonne Armstrong.”
Milele says they canceled a meeting Thursday because not enough commissioners attended.
“Folks who for whatever reason abstained from participating could possibly prevent us from recommending any chief,” she said.
Milele says she knew this would happen so they preemptively planned a town hall to ask the community if they think the commission should recommend the mayor give Armstrong his job back. Most said yes.
“I’m strictly for Chief Armstrong,” one attendee said. “I believe in him. He’s going to do a great job for Oakland.”
Jenny Zilliac held up a sign during the town hall that read, “I support Mayor Thao. Let her lead.” She was in the minority speaking in favor of Mayor Sheng Thao’s decision to fire the chief back in January after a federal monitor report found that Armstrong failed to discipline an officer for misconduct.
“I think it’s a slap in the face for them to recommend he be reinstated,” Zilliac said. “It’s a waste of time. This is a decision Sheng Thao made. She has the authority to make that decision and it’s a done deal.”
The Anti-Police Terror Project also released a statement opposing Armstrong’s reinstatement, saying:
“Throughout Armstrong’s tenure, the OPD was mired in numerous scandals, ranging from officers employing excessive force against Black children during the George Floyd protests to willfully ignoring instances of racist and sexist misconduct within the department.”
The Oakland Police Commission chair hopes to have full attendance at the Oct. 12 meeting so they can vote on whether they want to recommend reinstating Armstrong.