Oakland police chief, on leave, accuses federal monitor of faulty conclusions

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who is on paid leave, said Sunday that the independent monitor in charge of department reforms used faulty logic to help push him to the sidelines.

"This is an injustice. This is not fair," Armstrong said at a news conference at Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland.

They said the conclusions laid out by federal monitor Robert Warshaw are based on faulty logic.

"The confidential report and information provided by the monitor is embarrassing, is inaccurate. It contradicts itself about the role that I played," Armstrong said. "The report blatantly misstates and mischaracterizes key statements during my recorded interview."

The monitor does not discuss his work. Mayor Sheng Thao, who placed the chief on leave, has said it's not a punitive action.

Sources say Sgt. Michael Chung is accused of covering up the fact that he hit a Mercedes with a department-issued Chevy Tahoe in his San Francisco parking garage in 2021. The crash caused an estimated $14,000 in damage.

Sources say then-Internal Affairs Capt. Wilson Lau allegedly ordered a subordinate to downplay what Chung had done. But the chief says he was given an incomplete set of facts.

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"In this case, that information was not brought to me, so I was not able to take the proper action," the chief said.

That same sergeant is also accused of later firing his gun inside a service elevator at Oakland police headquarters and then throwing the shell casing from the Bay Bridge. The chief says the monitor yanked the probe of this case away from the department.

"We don't want to see his career tarnished. He does not deserve the treatment that he is receiving in this particular case," said Terry Wiley, a former Alameda County prosecutor.

Cynthia Adams, president of the Oakland NAACP said, "It's just like a kindergarten teacher that goes on leave, and after they go on leave, a sick leave or whatever, the class just acts up until that teacher gets back. Oakland is acting up."

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum said, "What's troubling is the succession of police chiefs have come and gone, and yet it just seems like an impossible job."

He added, "What will it take to be police chief there? It just seems like the bar keeps getting pulled higher and higher."

As of Sunday, the chief is on leave, the sergeant accused of the two incidents is on leave and the former internal affairs captain, who is now with the East Bay Regional Park police, is also on leave.