Oakland community leaders upset chief put on administrative leave

Community leaders in Oakland, who worked closely with Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong in violence prevention efforts, were stunned Friday after learning the city’s top cop was placed on administrative leave. 

It’s still unclear what the future holds for the chief and whether he’ll keep his job after being at helm of the beleaguered agency for just under two years. 

But members of the East Oakland community, as well as the AAPI community in Chinatown, were concerned the chief’s departure could bring more chaos after finally seeing some stability under his leadership. 

So far, 12 people have been in charge of the department since 2009

"I was very shocked and I was very upset," said Brenda Grisham, whose son was murdered outside the family’s home in 2010. 

She’s co-chair of the Oakland Violence Prevention Coalition and works with Ceasefire to reduce street violence in the city.

She’s worked closely with Armstrong on community oriented violence prevention efforts in the city.

"For him it’s not just a job, it’s a mission for him to make his city a safer place because this is where he’s from," she said. 

Grisham said she and other community members are hoping Armstrong’s leave is just a temporary administrative matter, not a signal he is being fired.

"We are going to rally around him because he has touched so many lives in this city," Grisham said, while blasting the way the city has handled the situation. "They could have worked on this amongst themselves before they did this public display of disrespect."

In Chinatown, community leaders were displeased as well.

Carl Chan is a longtime community member who said Armstrong dedicated a liaison officer to the neighborhood and had their backs when attacks against the APPI community began to increase.  

"I think the concern isn’t just from our community. I think the concern is from all communities," he said. 

Chan hopes things don’t return to the revolving door of chiefs that have taken place over the past decade. 

"It is concerning because we want to see our police department is being stabilized so they can do their job serving all communities," he said. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at evan.sernoffsky@fox.com and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky