OAKLAND, Calif. - Days after she was fired, the Oakland police union held an event for former police chief Anne Kirkpatrick before she heads home to Seattle.
Rank-and-file hugged her, shook her hands and gave her well wishes for her nearly three-year tenure as top cop. The Oakland Police Commission fired her without cause on Thursday, along with the blessing of Mayor Libby Schaaf.
"I was told many years ago, a true leader will know if they are a leader and they look over their shoulder if someone is standing there," said ex-OPD chief Anne Kirkpatrick, her voice cracking. "And I'm looking over my shoulder and they're standing here."
And the officers there, were emotional, too.
"You could feel a palpable sense of depression in our lineup rooms when we found out the news," officer Pedram Farhang said. "Because it was so abrupt and sudden."
Lt. Frederick Shavies added: "She made the rank and file feel important by speaking to them and asking if we are OK."
The commission did not find one single cause to terminate Kirkpatrick, but cited several years worth of "backsliding" of police reforms and a lack of transparency as some of the reasons they let her go.
Kirkpatrick told KTVU this week that she felt the allegations were personally painful and unfair. She said her termination may have been retaliation for not agreeing to pay the towing fee of one of the commissioners, which the commissioner denied.
Kirkpatrick also supported the officers involved in the shooting death of a homeless man and opposed their firing, which the commission took serious issue with.
Kirkpatrick said that with her firing, the city is more destabilized and community safety is at risk.
Union president Barry Donelan agreed, saying that the mayor and the commission do not have the "temperature" of the wider community.