OPD chief says she didn't deceive on department's ICE raid involvement

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Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick maintains her department agreed to help with traffic control during an ICE raid this past summer, but did not act deceitfully. 

Regarding the police department's involvement in the controversial Homeland Security Investigations- Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in West Oakland, Aug. 16, Chief Kirkpatrick told KTVU on Tuesday, "In no way have I ever acted with deceit. I acted with info and facts as they were relayed to me. There was no deception on my part. It was a repeating and a parroting of what I'd been told." 

The chief, who took the job in February following a high turnover of police chiefs whose firings and/or resignations amidst a widespread sexual misconduct scandal, gave a Power Point presentation to defend her decisions. In it, she addressed the questioning of her integrity. 

Kirkpatrick addressed the city council and said she received a call from special agent Ryan Spradlin the day before the raid, tipping her off to what was referred to as a "human-trafficking investigation" linked to a janitorial company. She added that she was told the victims had been juveniles, but were now adults. The chief said she was assured the matter was a "criminal investigation" but that it was not deportation related. 

Chief Kirkpatrick says she has a letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office about the ICE operation that confirms the underlying matter was criminal and she hopes the letter provides clarity. 

Because of Oakland's status as a sanctuary city there has been much criticism of the police department's involvement and accusations that they "colluded" with the feds. 

The ICE raid issue was item 17 on the council's agenda and went late into the night, ending just before 11 p.m., but not before some scathing criticism from Councilwomen Desley Brooks and Rebecca Kaplan following the chief's presentation.

"Do you think we're stupid?" Brooks asked aloud. "Every agent there had "ICE" or "POLICE" written all over them."

Brooks added there were "attempts by the [police] department to not get to today," referring to Kirkpatrick facing city council on the issue. She added that the department in the past has "fired people for their truthfulness."  

Kaplan pledged going forward for police to not "collude" with ICE "not even to bring them coffee."

Kirkpatrick has said she agreed to help with traffic control during the raid, because federal investigators told her the operation was a criminal investigation into human trafficking and that she did it out of the interest of public safety.  

Several community members entered public comment criticizing the chief's decision, claiming there were more than two police vehicles present during the raid and that witnesses had reported seeing several unmarked vehicles. 

Those who commented represented an array of organizations and groups from Anti-Police Terror Project, Coalition for Police Accountability and California Sanctuary Campaign. 

Following the raid, it turned out a Guatemalan man was taken into custody for being in the country without documentation. That man now faces deportation. Oakland's sanctuary city policy prohibits police participation in civil federal immigration investigations. 

Brian Hofer, chair of the city's Privacy Commission, along with several other people, filed an official complaint against Kirkpatrick, alleging that she made false statements about the HSI/ICE operation and OPD's involvement in it. 

Kirkpatrick had said she welcomed the chance to clear the air and answer the council's questions. She is under investigation for allegedly lying about the role of officers during the raid. 

Earlier in the day, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she reviewed the incident and the chief's decisions, saying it was consistent with the policy in place at the time and that she has full trust in her chief. 

"I have reviewed the incident, and I have reviewed the chief's decision-making process," Schaaf said. "We cannot be a safe city unless this community feels safe, feels like they can call 
911 in an emergency, feels like they can reach out for help."

However, she also says they've learned there is a clear need to change city policy to not even provide traffic control for ICE operations in the future. 

Kaplan, along with Brooks and Councilman Noel Gallo, authored the policy change and is critical of the police department for what she calls collusion with ICE. 

Before the meeting she said, "We hope to hear tonight, both why they participated, what info they had, who signed off on it and more importantly, we're going to start the conversation about how we make sure we don't have this problem again." 


CORRECTION: In a story that aired on 11/29/2017, KTVU reported on air that Chief Kirkpatrick said she was tricked into helping the ICE raid. That is incorrect. Chief Kirkpatrick did not say she was tricked. The chief said her department has always relied on a culture of trust when it comes to providing assistance to other law enforcement agencies.