Oakland Police Department in shambles

Louis LaVenture,

To say the Oakland Police Department has had a tough month would be an understatement.

Several of the department’s officers have been accused of sexual misconduct — as well as others who have allegedly texted racist remarks — which has led to the resignation of three police chiefs in less than a week. Due to legalities, Schaaf was not allowed to elaborate further on the text message situation.

Former Police Chief Sean Whent resigned on June 9, just a few days after the scandals began to become public. Ben Fairow was named interim police chief after Whent’s resignation, but served just a few days on the job before Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf replaced him on June 15. According to the Associated Press there was, “unspecified information that led [Schaaf] to lose confidence in [Fairow’s] ability to lead the beleaguered department.”

According to 18-year-old former prostitute who goes by the name Celeste Guap, she had sexual encounters with more than 20 police officers, several of which occurred while she was a minor. According to Guap, in return she received information about upcoming and potential prostitution sting circumstances and locations in several instances. Guap said that when she was 17 years old, she became romantically involved with an Oakland cop who saved her from her abusive pimp. Guap claims that officer introduced her to other cops who eventually became customers for her prostitution services.

Schaaf addressed members of the community and media at a press conference on Friday in Oakland where she said, “I’m here to run a police department, not a frat house.” Schaaf also announced that Oakland Administrator Sabrina Landreth will handle all personnel and disciplinary matters for the OPD until a replacement has been named. This came on the heels of the resignation of the third acting police chief, Paul Figueroa, who stepped down on Friday. Schaaf said Figueroa’s decision to step down was unrelated to the scandals.

Schaaf said that all of these circumstances have led her to wait on appointing a new chief, especially since the news came out on Friday that several African American officers sent racist text messages, according to news agency Reuters. “We do think it’s relevant to share that the text messages were sent by African American officers, but they are wholly inappropriate and not acceptable from anyone who wears the badge of the Oakland Police Department,” Schaaf said.

According to Schaaf, California law prohibits her from discussing internal and personnel issues within the department, which has led to some confusion of what the actual charges being levied are.