OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – The search continues for a new police chief in Oakland. On Thursday, the community will get their chance to weigh in, as many people are calling for former police chief LeRonne Armstrong to be reinstated.
The police commission is holding a town hall, and the commission chair says that the meeting will happen even if the full commission does not show up.
Shortly after taking office earlier this year, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao fired Armstrong following an investigation by a law firm hired by a federal monitor overseeing the Oakland Police Department, which found that Armstrong failed to discipline an officer for misconduct. An appeals court arbitrator would later clear Armstrong of any wrongdoing.
The former general counsel of the Oakland NAACP, Robert Harris, makes the case for being in favor of the police commission including Armstrong at the top of the list of candidates for his old job.
“We are convinced that is the appropriate thing to do,” he said. “As a matter of fact, if you look at the hearing officer’s report in this matter, which was issued a couple of weeks ago, she recommended that the discipline against him be reversed.”
Armstrong has stated that while he was chief of OPD, he brought the department within months of being in full compliance with federally mandated reforms. According to a weekly Oakland police crime report, violent crime is up 27% from this time last year when Armstrong was leading the department.
The Anti-Police Terror Project (APTP) is not in favor of rehiring Armstrong. Their reasons include:
“The failure of the ceasefire program under his tenure, which shows that when violence interrupters are taken off duty and it is left to police officers to interrupt cycles of violence, it’s an abject failure,” said James Burch, the APTP’s deputy director.
Oakland Police Commission Chairperson Tyfahra Milele talked about why it is critical for the town hall to happen.
“It’s important because we need to hear from the community. What do they want? What are their hopes for our chief? Do they want to reinstate the previous chief? Do they want to move forward with a new chief? We represent them. That’s why it is important to hear their voice,” she said.
The town hall is on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Oakland City Hall.