Sidelined Oakland top cop on the offensive in bid to return to duty

It's been more than two weeks since Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong was placed on leave, accused of dropping the ball after a sergeant was accused of two cover-ups. 

This week, after a series of news conferences in which he rallied for his reinstatement, the top cop is formally asking Mayor Sheng Thao to bring him back to his post.

But even though it was the mayor who placed the chief on leave, his beef isn't with her. 

"No, I still don't blame the mayor. The mayor didn't write the report," the chief said Sunday at Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland. 

Armstrong made clear he's frustrated with independent monitor Robert Warshaw, who commissioned a report from a law firm that said the chief should be disciplined.

MORE COVERAGE: LeRonne Armstrong accuses federal monitor of faulty conclusions

The report said an internal affairs captain ordered a subordinate to downplay a hit-and-run crash involving a sergeant. But the chief says he was given an incomplete set of facts.

"The mayor didn't find ways to blame me for things I wasn't responsible for. So no, I don't blame the mayor. I blame the creator of this report that is unfair and unjust."

The monitor has outlasted many chiefs and gets paid a million dollars a year to find problems in the department to report to a federal judge.

"Most chiefs, all the other chiefs did not survive. But I think my situation is much different," Armstrong said.

Pete Dunbar, a former Oakland deputy police chief said Monday, "The problem is, who's auditing the auditor? Nobody. He's been there a long time. The judge hears from the auditor, the judge has nothing else to go on." 

The chief has now spoken out three times, once with his attorney and twice alongside top leaders of the Oakland NAACP and other community leaders.

"The chief has nothing to lose, quite honestly," Dunbar. "I mean, I applaud him for getting his message out there. I think it's important that somebody hears it, because if nobody else heard it, you fill in the blanks with things that may not be true."

As for the mayor, she made no mention of the chief Monday at an unrelated news conference at City Hall. She left without taking any questions, and a spokeswoman says the mayor had no comment.

While on leave, the chief has met with stakeholders, including members of the Oakland Police Commission and civil rights attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin. But so far, there's no word as to if - and when - the chief will return to duty.