Oakland Police Commission fails to reach quorum at town-hall meeting due to members' protest

The Oakland Police Commission held a town hall on Thursday about the city's open police chief position, following the firing of LeRonne Armstrong in February. 

The Commission had been expected to put forward a list of potential candidates to replace Armstrong on Thursday, but they weren't able to reach a quorum after several committee members boycotted the meeting in protest.

One by one, Oaklanders stepped up to the mic at Thursday's meeting in Oakland City Hall, and weighed in on the firing of Armstrong. 

"I believe [Armstrong] should be reinstated," said one resident, who back the former chief during public comment.

"What happened with Chief Armstrong showed that he didn’t support police accountability," said another resident, against Armstrong's re-instatement to the chief position.

Armstrong’s ouster by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao in February, followed a probe criticizing the former chief’s handling of misconduct investigations involving his officers. But that decision has come under intense scrutiny following an appeal by Armstrong, which cleared him of any wrong doing.

"They were wrong for firing Chief Armstrong in the beginning. They did not allow due process before they fired him, and they should reinstate him because it was very premature," said Oakland resident Gail Harbin, who attended the meeting.

So far, Mayor Thao has continued to defend her move to fire Armstrong.  Oakland resident Jenny Zilliac, who also attended the meeting, said she backed Mayor Thao's decision.

"Our democracy is in trouble right now because we elected this mayor. We had a good turnout that election. We elected that mayor and she’s being undermined by the same group of people who is in that room every chance they get, and their job as the police commission is not to undermine the mayor," said Zilliac.

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Meantime, Oakland Police Commission Chair, Tyfahra Milele, said she is hoping enough members show up during their next meeting on October 12 to put forward a list of potential candidates for the open chief position.

"I would say that given the circumstances, and that [Armstrong] was doing an excellent job, and that he was fired wrongfully, that he should be entitled to his job, but it is not my decision to make," said Milelethere. "We would need to vote to do that, and hence the political theater that is preventing us from voting."