OAKLAND (BCN)-- The executive director of an Oakland social justice advocacy group said today that she's unhappy that a public hearing on the Oakland Police Department's response to criticism of its involvement in an immigration raid in August has been put off indefinitely.
Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance said today's decision by the Oakland City Council's Rules Committee to take the issue off the agenda of the Public Safety Committee's meeting next Tuesday indicates to her that the council thinks "it's not important to talk about this.
Rosenberg said the hearing on the Police Department's cooperation with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in West Oakland on the morning of Aug. 16 was scheduled back on Oct. 12, well before Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission Chair Brian Hofer and others, including Rosenberg, filed a complaint on Monday alleging that Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick made false statements about the raid.
Rosenberg said Rules Committee members said they pulled the item off the Public Safety Committee's agenda and placed it on the list of "pending" matters because the Police Department's Internal Affairs division and the city's Police Review Board are investigating the complaint.
But Rosenberg said she believes that even if the Public Safety Committee didn't directly address the allegations against Kirkpatrick, it still could have discussed policy issues regarding the Police Department's cooperation with ICE.
The complaint against Kirkpatrick alleges that she gave false information to the public about whether the raid in the 700 block of 27th Street was a deportation matter, whether anyone detained during the raid had been charged with a crime and the timing of Oakland's termination of its
agreement with ICE.
Oakland's sanctuary city policy prohibits local law enforcement from participating in federal immigration investigations.
City Council members weren't immediately available for comment on the Rules Committee's decision to pull the item from the Public Safety Committee's agenda.
On Wednesday night, more than 48 hours after the complaint was filed against Kirkpatrick, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a statement defending her, saying, "Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is an individual of immense integrity and professionalism."
Schaaf said, "I have met with Chief Kirkpatrick and the federal agents involved in the investigation to develop a thorough understanding about this matter. I have not seen anything that calls into question the chief's truthfulness or integrity."
The mayor said, "After thorough discussions and review of the documents, I remain convinced this operation (the ICE raid) was, and is, an ongoing criminal investigation aimed at preventing human trafficking in our city."
Referring to the complaint that was filed against Kirkpatrick, Schaaf said, "I have great respect for the investigative process and understand it needs to run its course. I want Oaklanders to know I stand with Chief Kirkpatrick and have full confidence in her now, just as I always have."
Schaaf added, "I want to assure Oakland residents our city remains a proud sanctuary city. We have not strayed from our Oakland values, which honors all residents from all communities, and all immigrants from all countries."