Oakland Police Chief Whent's abrupt departure takes community by surprise
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - When news broke Thursday night of the abrupt departure of Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent, it was met with surprise throughout Oakland.
Many people never saw it coming or thought Whent leaving was necessary.
At Youth Uprising, a program in East Oakland devoted to helping young people overcome hardships and to develop leadership skills, Whent was highly regarded.
He regularly met with young people in his office to talk about concerns important to them.
"I think he did his job well, from 2013 to now, definitely," said Ronald Easley, a 23-year-old living in East Oakland.
Across town, outside City Hall, Councilman Larry Reid shared part of his conversation with Whent last night.
"When I talked to the chief, the chief was very hurt. He is certainly someone I respected and admired," said Reid.
Reid doesn't buy that Whent left willingly.
"Crime is down at its lowest. If I were the chief, why would I resign?" Reid wondered.
Whent wasn't particularly popular with at least some of the police officers. He had worked in internal affairs before becoming chief. Several officers told KTVU they never felt like they could trust him.
Dan Siegel believes the accumulation of police scandals piled up. Siegel is a longtime civil rights attorney in Oakland, and was once an advisor to the previous Mayor Jean Quan, who appointed Whent as chief.
"I think he was a decent chief. He may have been a little too soft spoken, unwilling to exercise his authority and demand support, demand obedience from the rank and file," Siegel said.
Olis Simmons, who heads Youth Uprising believes Whent was poorly served by his staff, which kept him from achieving his goals.
The question now is, will the next chief have better luck?