Ousted Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong running for city council

LeRonne Armstrong, the ousted Oakland police chief, is running for city council. 

Followed by a team of cameras, Armstrong, 51, filed paperwork at City Hall on Wednesday morning. He'll be vying for incumbent Rebecca Kaplan's seat; she hasn't yet said if she's running again. 

"I am completely connected to this city," Armstrong told reporters. "And I want to be a part of this city's change moving forward."

Armstrong added that he hopes he can reassure business owners and developers that there's "somebody that actually understands public safety on the council and is focused on making sure that Oakland is a safe city."

Mayor Sheng Thao fired Armstrong in February 2023, citing an outside investigation that found he had allegedly mishandled two police misconduct cases. An arbitrator cleared him of wrongdoing.

He later sued Oakland, accusing the mayor of illegally firing him. 

Eight candidates have already entered the Nov. 5 race for the at-large seat, including Tonya Love, chief of staff to Councilmember Carroll Fife, and Rowena Brown, district director for Assemblymember Mia Bonta. 

More could enter the field, with two months remaining before Oakland’s August 9 filing deadline.

Despite being fired, Armstrong is wildly popular in many groups. He has been publicly backed by the NAACP, where members thought he was wrongly terminated. 

"I think he has an excellent change of taking the at-large seat," said KTVU political analyst Brian Sobel. 

Sobel said Armstrong has tremendous name recognition in Oakland. 

Armstrong, who was born and raised in Oakland, told KTVU in November 2023, how much he loves The Town, and how much he wishes he could do something to combat crime.

"It's difficult to hear people talk about how afraid they are to be in the city. It's difficult to hear people feeling like their vehicles or their property isn't safe in the city," he said at the time. "That's challenging for me, because I feel like I have so much to offer, and I'm not actually able to help solve the problem."

Some Oakland residents had different opinions on Armstrong's political run.

"He did a good job when he was the chief. I think he was wrongfully fired. But, I think we will do a good job," said resident Mike Stewart.

Resident Zoe Mederer, "I don't really think that there should be like police in government because they may be like biases, you know."

Since he's been off work, Armstrong has been volunteering as an assistant basketball coach at Bishop O'Dowd High School. 

In a statement that Armstrong's public relations agent, Sam Singer sent out, Armstrong described himself as someone who "brings unmatched knowledge and experience to this council race."

Armstrong credits himself with "successfully managing the largest city department and is the only candidate with the understanding of how to efficiently prioritize precious city resources without sacrificing public safety."    

Armstrong has four daughters and lives with his wife in East Oakland.

He also launched a website, which, as of early Wednesday morning, said "coming soon."