Former Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent leaves department

- The former top police officer for the city of Oakland has left his post, city officials have announced, although there are conflicting reports over what led to his departure.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the resignation of Sean Whent in a statement issued by the city administrator's office late Thursday night. But a source told KTVU that Whent, a 19-year veteran of the force, was terminated from the position. 

"Chief Whent's decision to resign was a personal choice which we respect," Schaaf said, adding that  she and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth were grateful for Whent's dedication and service. Landreth said Whent earned the city national recognition for its body-worn camera program.

Ben Fairow, who currently works as deputy chief for the BART Police Department, has been appointed Interim Chief of Police while Oakland city officials look for a permanent replacement.

Fairow has previously served as a captain in the Oakland Police Department, where his assignments included a stint as commander of the Internal Affairs Division.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to help the city maintain its momentum in fighting crime," Fairow said during the press conference.

"I have tremendous confidence in Chief Fairow," Schaaf said during the Friday news conference.. "He is absolutely the right person to continue the forward momentum of this department at this time."

Assistant Police Chief Paul Figueroa was expected to deliver the news to the department's police command staff at a meeting Friday.

Whent assumed the duties when Howard Jordan resigned. Earlier this year, Whent was encouraged to report that crime in his city was down

"Under his leadership Oakland has gotten safer, experiencing a 39 percent decrease in shootings and murders since 2013, and a 46 percent year-to-date reduction in homicides. Chief Whent has also done the critical work of driving sustainable, principled policing in Oakland," Schaaf said in her written statement.

The Bay Area News Group has reported that Schaaf has been angry over sexual misconduct allegations against four police officers accused of sexual contact with the underage daughter of a police dispatcher.

In her official statement, Schaaf said that she and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth were grateful for Whent's dedication and service.

Fairow has previously served as a captain in the Oakland Police Department, where his assignments included a stint as commander of the Internal Affairs Division. 

Cat Brooks, noted activist with the Anti Police-Terror Project, issued a statement saying Whent was fired amid recent allegations of sexual misconduct among officers in the department. 

"This is a victory that the people should claim," Brooks said. "Were it not for years of organizing and mounting public pressure for police accountability - Whent would still have his job."

"We are glad Whent is being held accountable for these vicious and brutal attacks on women's bodies," Brooks said.

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