Fired Oakland police chief lashes out at mayor, independent monitor

Former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong made his first public appearance after he was terminated two days ago by Mayor Sheng Thao for how he handled two misconduct investigations into one of his sergeants.

Armstrong held a press conference on Friday morning where he echoed that he was wrongfully terminated and that he did follow department protocol, despite a report from an outside firm, Clarence Dyer and Cohen. The 16-page report found Armstrong did not take Internal Affairs investigations into his rank-and-file officers seriously and there were "systemic deficiencies" within the department.

"As a police chief, I did my job and I believe I did it well. I committed no misconduct," said the former top cop. "I delivered on my promise from day one when I took this job to reform this police department."

He added that the department is closer to being in compliance with federal standards thanks to his work.

Armstrong stood firm on his stance, just as he did in a written statement shortly after his termination was made public on Wednesday.

Thao said she no longer had confidence, making the bold move to relieve him of his duties.

The mayor said she based her decision on how Armstrong responded to the outside investigation and his repeated denials that he had done anything wrong. She also said that there were deep problems and coverups in the department under his watch.

At his Friday news conference, Armstrong took aim at Thao and independent monitor Robert Warshaw, who commissioned the report from the outside firm that said he should be disciplined.

"My termination was never really about the facts, about performance, or my ability to effectively lead the Oakland Police Department. My termination was about Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw, and the mayor's failure to fight for the Oakland community is clear," said Armstrong.

He added, "Mr. Warshaw's history of incentives are crystal clear. The elephant in the room has been uncovered. He's supposed to be neutral, supposed to be a compliance director that helps the department move forward. But clearly the department continues to move backwards." 

Armstrong's termination hasn't settled well with some community members who believe the chief was wrongfully fired.

Brenda Grisham of the Christopher LaVell Jones Foundation, said Armstrong was making demonstrable strides in reducing police abuse within the department and that "as a son of Oakland," his love for the city and the residents was "evident in his work. Our mayor needs to hear the pain of her people."

Grisham's son was killed in 1993 and she has been a staunch supporter of Armstrong.

Before the former chief closed his afternoon press conference he thanked the Oakland community for rallying around him and assured, "this won't be the last you hear of me."