Oakland police complete 51 of 52 required reforms
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal monitor declared Wednesday that the Oakland Police Department has completed 51 out of 52 reforms required under the 2003 "Riders" case settlement.
At an online hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick stated that the Oakland Police Department could be free from oversight in one year, if they can complete the final reform and prove that they can sustain the changes.
"This is the time to show that the reforms, procedures, policies, practices that are required by the NSA are part of the DNA of the department," said Judge Orrick.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said they hope the community will understand how fundamentally different Oakland's police department is now.
"This has been a commitment that all of the members in the police department has agreed to: the idea that we want to be progressive," said Armstrong.
"We intend to always hold ourselves to a higher standard," said Mayor Schaaf.
Civil rights attorney John Burris was one of the lawyers representing the alleged victims and attended the hearing.
"I'm hopeful this will be a new day," said John Burris," "We don't want people stopped because of their race. We don't want them beat up because of that. We don't want shootings. We don't want other misuse of force."
Burris says the final reform that needs to be implemented is having a disciplinary policy that does not discriminate against certain officers.
"We wanted to make sure that our African-American officers, our ethnic officers were treated fairly, a consistency of discipline," said Burris.
Chief Armstrong said he wanted to recognize all the Oakland police officers who have worked hard to make the reforms.
"For those who have stayed and taken on this tremendous challenge, I really want to recognize them for their hard work," said Armstrong.
Oakland Police Commission's Inspector General, Michelle Phillips, who just started the new position in January says she and the Commission will be reaching out to community members.
"Transparency and accountability are very important," said Phillips, "Every citizen is not coming to the Police Commission meetings which means we need to have conversations about how we get out into the community to hear about what concerns that they may have."
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.